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No. 1205, August 10, 2023
Monument Shields 1M Acres Around the Grand Canyon
Heeding the call of the Grand Canyon Tribal Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity, President Biden just designated the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. Capping 15 years of work to protect this iconic place from new uranium mining, the historic move forever safeguards almost a million acres surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.
Besides honoring sacred Indigenous landscapes, the new monument will help endangered species like California condors, Mexican spotted owls, and humpback chubs. Baaj Nwaavjo means “where tribes roam” for the Havasupai Tribe, and I’tah Kukveni means “our ancestral footprints” for the Hopi.
To all you Center supporters who sent 17,000-plus comments to help us win: Thank you.
Now be part of our fight for other wild places and species with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Suit Filed to Save Gopher Tortoises
The Center just sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for denying Endangered Species Act protection to gopher tortoises across most of their range. The agency left these imperiled reptiles on a collision course with extinction, refusing to give them federal safeguards in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and most of Alabama — despite the Service’s own projection that nearly three-quarters of their populations will disappear over the next 80 years.
These cool tortoises have shovel-like front legs and strong, thick back legs to help them dig intricate burrows — just like gophers. Their loss would harm more than 360 other Southeast species that share their burrow homes.
Take action: Celebrate the Act’s 50th anniversary by joining our fight for gopher tortoises.
Caribbean Corals Win Habitat Protection
Following a Center lawsuit, this week NOAA Fisheries protected 6,500 square miles of habitat for five species of Caribbean corals: pillar coral, lobed star coral, mountainous star coral, boulder star coral, and rough cactus coral. They all got Endangered Species Act protection in 2014, in response to a Center petition — but not the critical habitat the law requires.
“Ensuring these incredible coral species have a healthy habitat will help secure their future in a hotter world,” said the Center’s Elise Bennett. “We need bold action to address the many threats corals face, from water pollution to fossil fuel-driven climate change.”
Suit for Lynx Takes on Montana Wolf-Trapping
We launched a suit this week over a Montana wolf-pelt export program that could hurt endangered Canada lynx. New wolf rules established in 2021 extended the state’s wolf-trapping season and allowed snaring, putting lynx at greater risk.
“Montana’s horrifying new trapping regulations have widespread environmental consequences, including harming rare and beautiful lynx,” said the Center’s Sophia Ressler. “Letting even more wolves be trapped and tortured puts lynx and other wildlife in the crosshairs of the state’s war on wolves. That’s unacceptable.”
New Graphic Novel: A Puma’s Journey
Life’s not easy for California mountain lions — especially in the urban wildlands of Central California, where cityscape meets a wilderness fragmented by freeways and development.
That’s the world of a young puma named C-8, the protagonist of a new book by Center scientist Tiffany Yap and artist Meital Smith.
After C-8’s mother leaves him and his brother to fend for themselves, a dominant male puma attacks. Our hero hides in a tree and survives, but his brother — who dashes across a highway — isn’t so lucky. Follow C-8 with the scientists who study him as he searches for a new home.
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma’s Journey comes out in October, but you can preorder it now.
That’s Wild: These Sharpshooters Make Pee, Not War
Glassy-winged sharpshooters — insects known partly as crop pests — drink 300 times their body weight in sap every day, so they’re frequent urinators. And as a biophysicist named Saad Bhamla recently discovered, they pee extremely efficiently by using an “anal stylus” to fling away the droplets at high speed — much like a catapult. The pee’s movement is so fast it qualifies as “superpropulsion.”
Watch it in slow motion on YouTube or Facebook.
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Photo credits: Condor by Don Graham/Wikimedia; baby gopher tortoise by Randy Browning/USFWS; rough cactus coral and mountainous star coral courtesy NOAA, lobed star coral by Louiswray/Wikipedia; coyote pups by Jim Kennedy/Flickr; Canada lynx by ucumari/Flickr; Tales of the Urban Wild art by Tiffany Yap; Antarctic krill courtesy NOAA; sharpshooter video courtesy Saad-Bhamla/Georgia Tech.
Center for Biological Diversity
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