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West Coast Fishers Get a Shot at Help
In a victory for Pacific fishers — as well as the Center for Biological Diversity and our local allies — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to revisit its decision not to protect these rare forest carnivores in Northern California and southern Oregon.
Fishers are relatives of minks, otters and wolverines who live in old-growth forests and are threatened by logging, climate change and rodenticide poisoning. We first petitioned to protect them under the Endangered Species Act in 2000.
“It’s great news that the Fish and Wildlife Service is reconsidering its refusal to protect the elusive Pacific fisher,” said Brian Segee, the Center’s endangered species legal director. “But waiting more than two decades to provide those protections is indefensible.”
Help the Center fight for the wild with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Two Pretty Plants Proposed for Protection
Following lawsuits by the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed to protect the swale paintbrush and Navasota false foxglove under the Endangered Species Act.
Swale paintbrushes have yellow or red flowers and are now found in only one location in southwestern New Mexico. They’re imperiled by drought and livestock trampling.
Navasota false foxgloves are 3 feet tall with purplish-pink flowers and depend on the roots of other plants to survive. Known to live in just three locations in east Texas, they’re threatened by drought, livestock and development.
Thanks to the Endangered Species Act — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year — these rare native plants will have a fighting chance at survival.
A Few Vaquitas Are Still Out There
According to a new count, vaquitas aren’t yet extinct — but they’re still very close to it. An expedition last month in their only habitat, Mexico’s Gulf of California, tallied just 10 to 13 individuals. Several were caught on film.
Vaquitas are small, shy porpoises with rounded snouts and black-ringed eyes. Mainly because of entanglement in gillnets meant to catch another endangered species, totoaba fish, vaquitas’ population has plummeted from 200 in 2012. But for decades Mexico has hardly lifted a finger to enforce the totoaba fishing ban aimed at protecting both species.
The Center has been working to save vaquitas for more than 20 years. Now we're calling on Mexico's government to better enforce its ban — before we lose vaquitas forever.
Catch the rare glimpse of these vaquitas in the wild on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.
Wishing You a Happy, Safe Pride Month
Some salmon are gay. Some bison are bicurious. Some fungi have literally thousands of sexes and reproduce by bumping against another fungus and fusing their cells together. Sex is wild, defying easy binaries, and biodiversity is beautiful.
In 2023 it feels especially important for all of us at the Center to show our pride. A record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country, dismantling gay and transgender rights and making life unsafe for many people.
In this context, we want to be clear: We champion the right of people of all identities and sexualities to live in peace. We see our work to protect imperiled species and people from environmental destruction as inseparable from the fight for civil rights. And we wish everyone a joyful, safe Pride Month.
Sea Turtles vs. Elon Musk
This Friday, June 16, is World Sea Turtle Day.
Sea turtles play a vital role in healthy ocean ecosystems. But Elon Musk's SpaceX is using important Gulf Coast nesting beaches for Kemp's ridley sea turtles as a sacrifice zone for dangerous rocket launches.
When SpaceX applied for a permit to launch 20 rockets at Boca Chica over the next five years, we sued the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to adequately study and address harm to imperiled wildlife, including Kemp's ridleys — the world’s most endangered sea turtles. The Boca Chica area is one of the most biodiverse regions in North America.
Take action to help us keep it that way: Urge the Federal Aviation Administration to protect sea turtles nesting at Boca Chica.
Roger Payne on the Importance of Biodiversity
“The way I see it, the most consequential scientific discovery of the past 100 years isn’t E = mc2 or plate tectonics or translating the human genome. … It is this: Every species, including humans, depends on a suite of other species to keep the world habitable for it, and each of those species depends in turn on an overlapping but somewhat different suite of species to keep their niche livable for them.”
Roger Payne was a biologist whose 1970 album Songs of the Humpback Whale, featuring whale vocalizations, helped spur a global conservation movement. Before he passed last weekend at the age of 88, he published a powerful testament to biodiversity and call to action in Time magazine.
That’s Wild: Chonkosaurus the Great
A large snapping turtle found fame on the Internet recently not only for her girth but for her ability to thrive in the once-filthy Chicago River.
Chonkosaurus — so named by the passing kayaker who made the critter famous with his video — is probably about 50 years old, weighs about 50 pounds, and is “loaded with eggs,” according to a local wildlife biologist. But the best part of the story is how much new life has thrived in this polluted urban river since the 1972 passage of the Clean Water Act.
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Photo credits: Pacific fisher by Bethany Weeks/Flickr; swale paintbrush by Mark Egger/WTU Herbarium, Navasota false foxglove by Eric-Keith-iNaturalist; vaquita video still courtesy Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; buffalo via Canva; Kemp's ridley sea turtle courtesy Texas State Aquarium; Roger Payne courtesy Ocean Alliance; Antarctic peninsula by Daniel Enchev/Flickr; snapping turtle by Joey Santore.
Center for Biological Diversity
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