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California Spotted Owls Will Finally Win Protection
More than two decades after a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, on Wednesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally announced it will protect California spotted owls.
These iconic, white-spotted owls make their home in old-growth forests. Their classic four-note call was once a common melody among the big trees of the Sierra Nevada and Southern California ranges. But logging, climate change and other threats have sent their numbers plummeting.
We first petitioned to protect California spotted owls in 2000, suing (three times) until the Service agreed to move forward in 2020. This will be the last subspecies of spotted owl — one of the few owls with dark eyes — to be protected.
“It took way too long for these endearing birds to be proposed for Endangered Species Act protection,” said Center attorney Justin Augustine. “I urge the Service to move quickly to bring them back from the brink.”
Defend This Atlanta Forest and Stop Cop City
Development of a police-training facility dubbed Cop City threatens one of Atlanta's largest urban wild spaces, the South River Forest.
This forest protects the headwaters of Georgia’s most biodiverse watershed, which supplies drinking water to millions of people downstream. It also provides habitat for more than 175 species — including Michaux's sumac, an endangered flowering shrub — and has historically harbored a rare, elusive minnow called the Altamaha shiner.
Advocates have been fighting to protect the forest for years. Tragically, last month 26-year-old Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, aka Tortuguita, was killed defending it. The Center has issued a statement in solidarity with forest protectors.
You can help: Sign our petition urging decision-makers to protect the South River Forest and stop Cop City.
State Help Sought for West Coast Orcas
Minnesota Win Saves Lynx From Strangulation Traps
After a lawsuit by the Center, a federal judge has ordered Minnesota to ban most uses of strangulation snares — which have accidentally killed lynx — in the northeastern part of the state. The state’s lynx population may be as low as 50.
“This is a big win for Minnesota’s Canada lynx and all of us who care about them,” said Collette Adkins, who directs the Center’s Carnivore Conservation program. “Commonsense reform of Minnesota’s trapping program will prevent needless, agonizing deaths for these rare cats, as well as for dogs and other unintended victims.”
18,000 People Spoke Up for Manatees — Thank You
Florida manatees are dying off in record numbers. Luckily people who care are showing up in record numbers, too: We just submitted more than 18,300 letters from Center supporters backing our petition to restore manatees’ full protection.
With pollution destroying their seagrass food, almost 2,000 of these gentle, playful mammals have died of starvation in the past two years. That’s why, last year, we petitioned to up-list them to “endangered” rather than just “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act.
If you signed on to our petition, thank you.
Suit Seeks Records on Endangered Species Delays
The Center just sued the White House for refusing to release records on its role in delaying Endangered Species Act protection for a long list of imperiled species.
Most recently, it illegally delayed protection of critical habitat for red knots. These salmon-colored shorebirds make an epic 9,000-mile migration every year, but their population has been devastated by overharvest of horseshoe crabs, habitat loss, and sea-level rise. We won protection for these birds in 2014, but they still don’t have habitat safeguards.
“Red knots, wolves, grizzly bears and many other beautiful but imperiled species are all suffering from constant regulatory delays,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center.
That’s Wild: Fish See Themselves in Photos
What do great apes, bottlenose dolphins, elephants, several bird species, and a small fish called the cleaner wrasse have in common? They can all recognize themselves in a mirror.
A new study out of Japan has shown that cleaner wrasses, who happen to be fiercely territorial, can relate directly not only to their mirror images but also to photos. When shown pictures of other fish, they attacked — but not when shown photos of themselves. They were also seemingly angered by pictures of other fishes’ faces on their own bodies.
“This study is the first to demonstrate,” says lead researcher Masanori Kohda, “that fish have an internal sense of self.”
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Photo credits: California spotted owl by Ilya Katsnelson/Wikimedia; Weelaunee protester courtesy Defend the Atlanta Forest; Southern Resident orca by Miles Ritter/Flickr; Canada lynx courtesy WDFW; manatees courtesy NOAA; Sonoyta mud turtle by George Andrejko/AZGFD; red knot by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity; cat courtesy Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, forest courtesy Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine; bluestreak cleaner wrasse by Rickard Zerpe/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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