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Petition Filed to Reintroduce Sea Otters
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce southern sea otters to large stretches of the West Coast.
North America’s smallest marine mammals, sea otters stay warm with dense fur instead of blubber. Many have a favorite shellfish-cracking rock they stash in a “pocket” created by loose skin folds, and often when swimming in a group — called a raft — they join paws to keep from drifting apart.
The commercial fur trade nearly drove sea otters to extinction. Our Endangered Species Act petition shows that to save these adorable, unique animals, it’s crucial to reintroduce them throughout their historic range in North America.
“Bringing sea otters back to the broader West Coast would be an unparalleled conservation success story,” said Center biologist Kristin Carden. “Not only would the sea otters thrive, but they would also help restore vital kelp forest and seagrass ecosystems.”
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A Win for Fender’s Blue Butterflies
The Fish and Wildlife Service just announced a rare Oregon butterfly species is on the right track. The agency will change the status of Fender’s blue butterflies from endangered to threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“This little butterfly was nearly lost to Oregon, but now we can celebrate its recovery along with the 50th anniversary of the landmark law that saved this species,” said Quinn Read, the Center’s Oregon policy director.
Fender’s blue butterflies are tiny — with a 1-inch wingspan — and found only in the prairie and oak savannah of the Willamette Valley. The species is so rare that it was presumed extinct until small populations were rediscovered in 1989.
The Votes Are In: Schumer Is 2022’s Biggest Eco-Villain
We asked for your help picking our 2022 Rubber Dodo Award winner — whoever did U.S. wildlife the dirtiest last year — and we got it. Thousands of Center supporters agreed that dubious honor goes to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Just one of Sen. Schumer’s evil environmental deeds: inserting a last-minute rider into the 2023 omnibus budget bill that could forever wipe out North Atlantic right whales, already down to just 340 individuals.
Our Rubber Dodo Award annually spotlights those destroying wild places, driving species extinct, and tearing apart Earth’s life-support system. Named after the most famous extinct species, this award does not come with a cash prize. Just disgrace.
Potter Valley Eagle-Nest Tree Still Stands
After negotiations with the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the Center, and other groups — and after weeks of protest — Pacific Gas and Electric just agreed to a reprieve for a bald eagle’s nest on a ponderosa pine snag in Mendocino County, California, that it was proposing to cut down.
The company committed to leaving the tree through the season, but activists worry it will remove the tree afterward — even though bald eagles have nested there for decades.
“We believe a solution that does not involve chopping down the eagle nest tree can and must be found,” said Peter Galvin, the Center’s director of programs. “Unique situations call for unique solutions.”
Suit Aims to Protect Oregon Spotted Frogs
Two federal agencies have approved a habitat conservation plan for Oregon’s upper Deschutes River that fails to ensure that a dam won’t drive threatened Oregon spotted frogs extinct. So on Thursday the Center let them know we intend to sue.
“I know a lot of work was put into the plan, but it still lacks the teeth it needs to truly protect the Oregon spotted frog,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “The upper Deschutes River has been treated like an irrigation canal for too long, and both the river’s health and the frog have suffered.”
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That’s Wild: 2022’s Funniest Wildlife Photography
Last year’s annual Comedy Wildlife Photography competition fielded thousands of submissions from around the world. Winners included photos of a salmon slapping a grizzly across the face, a red squirrel flying like a superhero, jump-kicking kangaroos, and an Indian sarus crane turning a blue bull into a mythical winged beast.
The top prize went to Jennifer Hadley of Virginia for capturing a clumsy lion cub falling out of a tree in the Serengeti. Hadley had a second winning pic, from a very different region, capturing a penguin’s talk-to-the-hand moment.
John Chaney — another prize-winning photographer, who caught the salmon slap in Alaska — shared some valuable insight for aspiring wildlife photographers: “Wherever wildlife is happening … stake out a good spot and you just take pictures for hours trying to get the best image.”
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Photo credits: Sea otter by Teddy Llovet/Flickr; Fender's blue butterfly by Oregon Dept. of Transportation; Rubber Dodo Award by Center for Biological Diversity; bald eagle by Jerry McFarland/Flickr; Oregon spotted frog by Marcus Rehrman/USGS; city via Canva; canal by Dado Galdieri/Hilaea Media; penguins © Jennifer Hadley.
Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702