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No. 1212, September 28, 2023
Courtrooms Are Critical Habitat for Grizzlies
The Center’s Noah Greenwald recently published a study in Frontiers in Conservation Science reviewing every lawsuit filed — including by the Center — to defend grizzly bears over the past 30 years. His research makes it clearer than ever that litigation has been key to ensuring these bears survive and thrive.
“It’s impossible to make amends for all the destruction people have inflicted on grizzlies and other species,” writes Noah in an op-ed about the study. “But I like to think that Yellowstone grizzlies are grateful for the protection the Endangered Species Act has provided over the years. Even if they’ve never seen the inside of a courtroom.”
Take action to help us keep grizzlies protected.
Okefenokee Moves Toward World Heritage List
The U.S. National Park Service just announced it will nominate the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge as a United Nations World Heritage site, solidifying the United States’ commitment to protecting this special place in Georgia.
The 400,000-acre refuge covers about 93% of Okefenokee Swamp wetlands. Among the hundreds of species it harbors are endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, threatened eastern indigo snakes, and rare towering old-growth cypress trees.
The Park Service got more than 10,300 public comments from us supporting the nomination. Thanks to all of you who took action to safeguard this irreplaceable international treasure.
It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week, and we think you otter know: Although decades of conservation efforts have helped the species rebound, sea otters are still far from recovered. So while we defend their Endangered Species Act protection, the Center is also working to get these charismatic critters reintroduced to Northern California and Oregon, where the fur trade almost wiped them out in the 20th century.
Enjoy some otterly adorable videos on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
Oregon Bans Wildlife-Killing Contests on Public Lands
We’re celebrating: The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission just banned wildlife-killing contests on public lands across the state. These cruel contests wreak havoc on ecosystems, disregarding the ecological roles of target animals like coyotes and foxes, who keep rodent populations in check. And when hunters kill wildlife to win money or prizes, they’re especially likely to use unethical cheats like high-powered rifles, night-vision goggles, and whistles mimicking a coyote pup’s distress call.
“I’m really proud of Oregon for banning these contests,” the Center’s Collette Adkins told National Public Radio. “I think it does say something about changing values of society — that ethics should play a role in wildlife management, that suffering matters.”
Oregon is the ninth state to ban these mass-slaughter events. If you’re one of the 1,000 Center supporters there who signed our petition to help make it happen, thank you.
Lawsuit Filed for Rare Southern Fish
On Wednesday the Center sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for denying federal protection to bridled darters, imperiled fish who live only in small portions of six rivers and creeks in Georgia and Tennessee. Named for markings on their face and back that resemble a horse’s bridle and reins, they clearly face major threats to their survival, including habitat destruction and climate change. Still, the Service refused to give them Endangered Species Act protection in 2017, under Trump.
“Saving these little fish means saving the rivers and streams they need to survive, benefitting us all, so the federal government’s failure is truly unacceptable,” said Center attorney Meg Townsend.
Take action to help fix the broken protection process.
That’s Wild: More Frogs Glowing in the Twilight
Did you know frogs can glow? Well, they can. It’s called biofluorescence. And new research shows that way more frogs can glow than previously thought.
All the frogs scientists tested — 528 from 151 South American species — glowed to some degree, mainly around twilight, when frogs are most active.
Because the body parts that glow are involved in frogs’ signaling, researchers think biofluorescence is probably part of communication. A green glow is likely related to their communication with each other, since frog eyes are sensitive to that color, while an orange glow may have evolved as a message to predators.
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