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No. 1210, September 14, 2023
Help Free Point Reyes Tule Elk
Native to California, tule elk are majestic, highly social animals once hunted nearly to extinction. Now about 600 roam at Point Reyes National Seashore, the only national park where they live. But instead of letting elk numbers expand, the National Park Service has proposed killing members of two free-roaming herds and confines part of the largest herd on a peninsula with an 8-foot-high fence.
It’s all to appease livestock owners. And with recent droughts, it’s had deadly consequences: Unable to roam and forage naturally, many confined elk die of thirst and malnutrition.
Finally, thanks to public outrage and a flood of comments from Center for Biological Diversity supporters, the Park Service is proposing to tear down the elk-killing fence. But livestock owners don’t want that.
Tell the agency to free the elk and protect Point Reyes for native wildlife — not for the cattle destroying it.
Protection Proposed for Ultra-Rare Springsnail
Following a Center lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed to grant Endangered Species Act protection — plus critical habitat — to Quitobaquito tryonias, tiny springsnails of Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
About the size of poppy seeds, Quitobaquito tryonias live in just one tiny freshwater pond in one of the driest parts of the Sonoran Desert: Quitobaquito Springs, sacred to the Hia-Ced O’odham people and Tohono O’odham Nation.
“I’m thrilled these desert survivors are on their way to federal protection,” said the Center’s Laiken Jordahl.
More than 400 other species aren’t so lucky. Tell the Service to reform its protection process.
Today: Fourth Annual Food Justice Film Festival
The Center’s fourth annual Food Justice Film Festival begins online today and runs through Sunday. It’s free and open to the public.
The films explore the links between food justice, farmworker rights, worker protections, food access, and environmental sustainability. They show how organizers, activists and even some business owners are creating powerful movements that connect what people eat to our culture and health, as well as the health of the planet.
This year’s featured films are Food Chains, El Susto, Migrant Dreams and Seeding Change. You can also watch prerecorded discussions with activists (available during and after the festival).
Sign up now to watch all the films during the four-day run.
UN Says Vaquita Habitat Is Still in Danger
The United Nations’ UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided to keep “in danger” status — granted after a petition by the Center and allies — for the last habitat of vaquita porpoises. The committee also urged Mexico to act now to save these tiny, shy marine mammals, only 10 of whom survive on Earth. Although Mexico has banned gillnet fishing in vaquita habitat — their primary threat — the country’s government has been terrible at enforcing the ban.
“I’m grateful the World Heritage Committee is holding Mexico accountable, but it’s sobering that the country has again failed to meet its international commitments to eliminate threats to the few remaining vaquitas,” said the Center’s Alejandro Olivera.
Take action: Demand better law enforcement to save these rare porpoises.
Why We’re at the NYC Climate March This Weekend
Center climate organizer Molly Morabito says that, for her, this summer has made it clearer than ever that fossil fuels harm people and the species we love.
“That’s why I’m marching this Sunday in NYC to end fossil fuels,” she said.
If you'll be in New York with us, check out this video on what you need to know about joining the climate march. If not, take action by signing our petition (and sharing it widely).
Hear more about why Molly is marching on YouTube or Facebook.
GAO: Trump’s Border Wall Hurts Wildlife, Ecosystems
A new Government Accountability Office report details the extreme environmental harm done by the U.S.-Mexico border wall built under former President Trump — while his administration waived environmental reviews and ignored Native Tribes’ concerns. Now, said the GAO, the federal government should fix the damage.
Trump’s wall blasted through some of the most ecologically important places in the United States, killing countless saguaro cactuses and destroying habitat for endangered species like ocelots and jaguars.
See what it looked like in this video on Facebook, YouTube, and X.
Revelator: How Climate Change Threatens Insects
Researchers warn that 40% of insect species could go extinct in decades if people don’t take action to save them — and address climate change at the same time. That's bad news for everyone, since life as we know it depends on insects pollinating plants, controlling pests, feeding bigger animals, and more.
Thankfully, there are solutions. Read all about them in The Revelator.
That’s Wild: Birds Repurpose Anti-Bird Spikes
You’d think birds hate those upward-pointing spikes placed on roofs and in building crevices to prevent nesting. But a new report finds that some birds use them … for nesting.
Biologist Auke-Florian Hiemstra started studying the phenomenon after getting pictures of a magpie nest in Belgium made of least 1,500 long, sharp spikes stripped from a hospital to build what Hiemstra called “a bunker for birds.”
His research team found similar nests in the Netherlands and Scotland and got reports of other birds — including an infamous cockatoo in Australia — removing the pesky spikes from buildings. Hiemstra thinks anti-bird-spike nests may be more common than once thought.
Are they improving survival rates? That’s to be seen. But Hiemstra says it’d be “the perfect comeback of the birds.”
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Photo credits: Tule elk at Pt. Reyes by Matt Knoth/Flickr; Quitobaquito Springs by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; promotional image for Food Justice Film Fest; vaquita by Barbara Taylor/NOAA; still of Molly Morabito and NYC march poster courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; stills of border damage from video by Laiken Jordahl/Center for Biological Diversity; autumn darter by coniferconifer/Flickr; anti-bird-spike nest by Auke-Florian Hiemstra, Eurasian magpie by Alexis Lour/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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