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Reindeer Population in Canada Gets U.S. Protection
After the Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments and a survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday protected Dolphin and Union caribou as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This population of barren-ground caribou — also known as reindeer — lives in the Canadian Arctic, so protecting it will restrict trade in these animals in the United States.
Dolphin and Union caribou are threatened primarily by climate change and hunting pressure; they have to cross sea ice to migrate from their wintering grounds to calving grounds on Victoria Island, and this year, tragically, several have fallen through the inadequate ice.
“It’s deeply saddening that our failure to address the climate crisis and other threats has caused these animals to suffer such a drastic decline,” said Dianne DuBois, a Center staff scientist. “But the Endangered Species Act will give these reindeer a much-needed lifeline.”
Massive oil and gas leases that would destroy vast swaths of public land — reaching from the Canadian border south to Mexico — were illegally approved under Trump without a valid climate analysis. Lawsuits have now forced the Biden administration to consider rejecting this giveaway to Big Oil.
A valid climate analysis will show what scientists have been telling us over and over again: Our climate can’t afford any new fossil fuel expansion, including oil and gas development.
Call on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to reject these oil and gas leases.
Historic Petition Filed to Reintroduce Jaguars
Scientists Speak Up for Pacific Walruses
It’s been a slippery road toward protection for Pacific walruses, who live on sea ice that’s quickly melting away.
The Center first petitioned to protect these epically tusked ice dwellers in 2008. Although the Fish and Wildlife Service initially acknowledged their imperilment, under Trump the agency denied them Endangered Species Act safeguards. We sued, and an appeals court overturned that decision last year — but the Service has yet to respond.
There’s no denying that Pacific walruses need safeguards now. That’s why this week, the Center’s Kristin Carden joined a dozen prominent scientists in calling on the Service to take immediate action.
Lawsuit Aims to Help Amargosa Voles
The Center just sued the Bureau of Land Management to protect highly imperiled Amargosa voles from unmanaged human activity in their protected critical habitat. Off-road vehicles, unattended campfires, and people using the marshy lands for toilet functions have severely degraded the mouselike animals’ tiny remaining range — near a popular hot spring outside Tecopa, California.
“Amargosa voles are on the brink of extinction,” said the Center’s Great Basin Director Patrick Donnelly, who lives in the area. “But federal officials are looking the other way while people party around the clock in these little animals’ only home.”
Amargosa voles are among the most endangered U.S. small mammals — recently declining to just a few dozen individuals.
Suit Calls for Sanctions to Save Vaquitas
Over the past decade, vaquita porpoises have plummeted from 200 individuals to around 10. They need immediate action to avoid extinction — but the Mexican government still allows the fishing and trade of endangered totoaba fish, illegal activities that entangle and drown the vaquitas.
We've tried advocacy and diplomacy, but vaquitas are out of time. So the Center and allies are taking action: We're pushing the U.S. Department of the Interior to embargo all wildlife imports from Mexico.
“We need economic pressure to force Mexico to finally wake up and stop this little porpoise’s extinction,” said the Center's Sarah Uhlemann.
The Revelator: Saving the Snags
That’s Wild: Wisdom the 71-Year-Old Albatross
The planet’s oldest known wild bird has returned to her tiny home island in the Pacific Ocean: Midway Atoll. Her name is Wisdom, and she’s a Laysan albatross — or mōlī in Hawaiian — believed to have turned 71 this year, though she may be even older. Biologists identified Wisdom in 1956 after she’d laid an egg, and they’ve been tracking her since.
They think she’s at least 71 because large seabirds aren’t known to have chicks before the age of 5. While she’s had several mates, she spent the past 18 years with one named Akeakamai (Hawaiian for “lover of wisdom”). The pair had a chick together in 2021.
Because mōlī like Wisdom use their massive 6-foot wingspan to fly thousands of miles every year, scientists estimate this bird has flown a distance equivalent to seven trips to the moon and back.
Check out this video to learn more about the living legend.
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Photo credits: Barren-ground caribou by Erwin and Peggy Bauer/USFWS; oil and gas development courtesy of BLM; jaguar from Shutterstock; Pacific walrus by Joel Garlich-Miller/USFWS; Amargosa vole by Don Preisler/UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine via BLM; vaquita by Paula Olson/NOAA; black-backed woodpecker by Skip Russell; Wisdom the albatross screenshot from video courtesy of USFWS.
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