41,000 More Protected Acres for Pacific Fishers
Pacific fishers are mink and otter relatives who once roamed through forests from British Columbia to Southern California. Then people trapped them in large numbers for their beautiful fur — and logging continues to tear up the forest they have left. Only two naturally occurring fisher populations remain, and one of them has just been thrown a lifeline.
Following years of work by the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to increase protected fisher habitat in the southern Sierra Nevada by more than 41,000 acres.
“Pacific fishers need every acre of protected habitat they can get,” said Justin Augustine, a senior attorney at the Center. “Their mature forests in the southern Sierra are in real trouble in our warming world, so it’s crucial to protect higher-elevation areas in Yosemite National Park and elsewhere.”
Help us win for fishers and other species with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. If you do it today, your donation will be matched.
Hurt by Pollution and Dams, Darter Gets Protection
At almost 5 inches long, sickle darters are considered big fish, as darters go. But they’ve disappeared from North Carolina, surviving only in Tennessee and Virginia — where dam silt, animal waste, sewage, pesticides and other pollutants are killing their river homes.
Thanks to a 2010 Center petition and 2015 agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service just protected them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately the agency didn’t designate critical habitat.
“It’s tragically too late for the sickle darter in the watershed where I live, the French Broad River,” said the Center’s Will Harlan. “But with protections in place, we can still save this rare fish in other rivers.”
Post-Midterms, We’re at COP27
Right now the Center is at COP27, the global climate conference, fighting for our climate future and human rights. And in the wake of the midterm elections, we're calling on President Biden to declare a climate emergency and use his executive powers to lead a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels.
“It would be a catastrophic mistake if President Biden does not seize this literally once-in-the-universe opportunity now to be the climate president that the world needs him to be,” said Jean Su, director of our Energy Justice program.
Stay tuned for more on COP27 and how you can take action to help.
In Defense of (Horseshoe Crab) Beach Orgies
Horseshoe crabs have been around for a half-billion years, surviving disasters that wiped out most life on this planet. One of the secrets to their longevity? Wild beach orgies.
Every year they deposit millions of eggs along the Atlantic Coast, providing protein-rich food for many endangered species — including red knots, who use it to fuel their epic 9,500-mile annual migration. The Center won protection for these shorebirds in 2014.
Now a commission of U.S. coastal states wants to raise limits on commercial horseshoe crab harvests for bait. We oppose that move. We can’t let these ancient creatures — or the others who depend on them — disappear.
Get more in this piece by Center scientist Will Harlan; watch our video of a horseshoe crab orgy on Facebook or YouTube.
That’s Wild: Larvae Shoot Heads Like Harpoons
Mosquitos annoy us and can carry serious diseases. But of the 3,500 mosquito species in the world, most don’t feed on humans. They play important roles in ecosystems — and we’re still learning some fascinating facts about these insects.
Most recently, for the first time ever, a team of scientists captured slow-motion videos through a microscope showing different species of mosquito larvae who have evolved sophisticated, lightning-quick hunting techniques.
In one, larvae can “launch their heads, literally, from their bodies” (as a researcher put it), elongating their necks to harpoon their prey. In another, they can whip their tails around to guide prey into their mouths. The attacks all happen within 15 milliseconds, so the team needed a camera that captured 4,000 frames per second.
Vicious killers as larvae, some in the Toxorhynchites genus grow up into iridescent, nectar-eating adults that study coauthor Robert Hancock calls “gorgeous.”
Read more and check out the close-up, slow-mo videos of these larvae.
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Photo credits: Fishers by Emily Brouwer/NPS; sickle darter courtesy Conservation Fisheries, Inc.; COP27 courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; American burying beetle mural by Roger Peet; crowd of people via Canva; horseshoe crabs from video courtesy NOAA Fisheries; pond by Micha Sager/Pixabay; mosquito larva by Peyman Zehtab Fard/Flickr.
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