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Butterflies, Mussels Proposed for Protection
Thanks to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed Endangered Species Act protection for three beautiful Brazilian butterflies: the Harris’ mimic swallowtail, Hahnel’s Amazonian swallowtail, and Fluminense swallowtail.
A biologist petitioned for these butterflies’ protection back in 1994, but they languished on a waiting list for almost three decades. After the Center sued, last year the Service finally agreed to move forward on protection.
In more Center-spurred good news for imperiled invertebrates, last week the Service also proposed protecting green floaters across seven eastern states, as well as designating 1,585 river miles of critical habitat. These short-lived, trapezoidal-shelled freshwater mussels have been on the waiting list since 1991, and we petitioned to protect them in 2010. This time we didn’t have to sue, but it did take the Service 13 years to act.
Federal foot-dragging can have a fatal result: extinction. But without proper funding, the Service often can’t move quickly enough to prevent it. Tell Congress to support a bill that would finally change that.
Suit Filed to Protect 20 Coral Species
The Center just sued NOAA Fisheries to force it to protect 20 Caribbean and Indo-Pacific coral species, including pillar coral, lobed star coral, and rough cactus coral.
Responding to a petition from us, NOAA Fisheries officially protected these corals under the Endangered Species Act in 2014. But it refused to actually protect them with regulations that would counter some of their biggest threats — like collection and climate change — even after we petitioned for those regulations in 2020. Although the United States is the world’s largest importer of live corals, the agency won’t even monitor trade in these 20 species.
“It’s clear that these suffering species need all the help we can give them,” said Center lawyer Emily Jeffers. “Protection for corals shouldn’t be in name only.”
See how stunning these corals are in our new video on Facebook or YouTube.
The Latest Endangered Species Act Success Story
It’s official: The golden paintbrush has recovered. So the Fish and Wildlife Service just removed it from the endangered species list.
This beautiful Pacific Northwest plant can grow up to a foot high, with bright yellow flowers and soft, sticky hairs. In 1997, with only 10 known populations left, it was protected under the Endangered Species Act. Now 48 populations thrive from British Columbia to Oregon.
“Saving the golden paintbrush is yet another success of the Endangered Species Act, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year,” said the Center’s Noah Greenwald. “With climate change looming and a growing human footprint, we need this important law more than ever.”
We can only celebrate successes like this if the Act is as strong as possible. Tell the Biden administration to take bold action now.
Working to Save Wildlife From Chemicals in Water
This week we have two important updates on our work wielding the Clean Water Act to protect species from toxic pesticides and other pollutants.
On Tuesday the Center announced a legal agreement that could help species like bull trout, pallid sturgeons, and Oregon spotted frogs. This win requires the Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service to consult and assess how applying pesticides to waters — like rivers and lakes — could hurt protected plants and animals.
And on Monday, with allies, we petitioned the EPA to add more than 1,000 toxic chemicals to the outdated list of pollutants it regulates under the Clean Water Act — including nonylphenols, which threaten the last 73 Southern Resident orcas, and atrazine, which can chemically castrate male frogs at very low concentrations.
You can help our fight against toxics: Tell the EPA to ban atrazine once and for all.
Take Action, Stay Informed With Our Texts
Since we launched our SMS program, we’ve used it to recruit hundreds of event attendees and help supporters send more than 30,000 comments on urgent issues — like saving manatees, bringing sea otters back to California, and opposing cruel hunting practices that leave bear cubs and wolf pups orphaned.
Now almost 5,000 people get Center texts. Do you?
Sign up for our texts (four to six per month), and you’ll be the first to know about breaking news, rallies and other events, and actions you can take to help us keep winning for species. You can unsubscribe anytime, and we won’t share your number.
Report: The Hidden Value of Nonforest Habitats
Forests are amazing, but they're not the only ecosystems with big potential for soaking up and storing carbon. California shrublands, grasslands, deserts and riparian corridors are also important carbon sinks, according to a new Center report Hidden in Plain Sight. Unfortunately their potential for soaking up and storing carbon is often overlooked — and usually ignored in the state’s land-use decisions.
“The record-breaking heat waves are yet another alarm demanding that we open our eyes to conservation’s role in limiting warming,” said Center biologist Tiffany Yap, lead author of the report. “We’re missing opportunities to combat the climate crisis in our own backyard when we pave over intact ecosystems.”
That’s Wild: Toad Halts Play on the Golf Course
This year’s British Open golf championship was disrupted twice by some uninvited characters: first, activists protesting fossil fuels; then, one of Britain's rarest amphibians.
“The Open,” as the world’s oldest golf tournament is also known, was visited by a rare natterjack toad, a species protected in Europe. Play was stalled until the arrival of a Royal Liverpool Golf Club staffer with a license to handle the tiny creature.
U.S. player Brian Harman won the tournament — and a $3 million prize — but the natterjack cameo netted news headlines too, pointing to the plight of imperiled species worldwide.
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Photo credits: Fluminense swallowtail by Joe Schelling; pillar coral courtesy NOAA Fisheries; golden paintbrush by Robert Pos/USFWS; Oregon spotted frog courtesy USGS, Southern Resident orca courtesy NOAA Fisheries; American pika by William C. Gladish; ocotillo in California's Colorado Desert by slworking2/Flickr; Elwha watershed © forest2sea.com; natterjack toad by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia.
Center for Biological Diversity
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