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No. 1214, October 12, 2023
Lawsuit Launched to Protect Arctic Ice Seals
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice intent to sue NOAA Fisheries for failing to grant recovery plans for bearded and ringed seals. Thanks to the Center’s work, they won Endangered Species Act protection in 2012 — but the agency still hasn’t given them a recovery plan (which the Act requires).
Along with many other dangers, both species are threatened by climate change, which is melting the sea ice they need to give birth, nurse and rear pups. Ringed seals, named for the ring patterns scattered across their plump bodies, build snow caves over breathing holes in the ice to shelter pups from icy winds and predators. Bearded seals get their name from their thick, elegantly curved whiskers and are the largest seals in the Arctic, averaging 7.2 feet long and more than 500 pounds.
“It makes me sick that we’ve known these seals are in danger for more than a decade, but the agency hasn’t made a plan to deal with it,” said Center lawyer David Derrick.
For the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, let's move the dial from survival to recovery.
In Court for Endangered Bees Too
In our second notice of intent to sue this week, we warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we’ll be taking it to court if it doesn’t move forward on protecting four imperiled bees — American bumblebees, Southern Plains bumblebees, variable cuckoo bumblebees, and blue calamintha bees — under the Endangered Species Act.
Following petitions by the Center and allies, the Service found that American bumblebees, variable cuckoo bumblebees, and blue calamintha bees deserve Endangered Species Act protection, but it missed its deadline to protect these important pollinators. The agency didn’t even respond to our petition for Southern Plains bumblebees.
“Your parents’ generation may have seen American bumblebees all over their yards, but now trained biologists spend their summers looking and can’t find any,” said Center scientist Jess Tyler.
Take action to help us save American bumblebees. Then check out our video of bumblebee butts on Facebook and YouTube.
Manatees Move Toward Better Protection
Responding to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that Florida manatees may regain their endangered status under the Endangered Species Act.
The Service downgraded manatees’ protection too early in 2017, and since then they’ve been dying en masse. Pollution-fueled algae blooms have killed more than 2,000 of the gentle ocean mammals in the past three years alone — 20% of all Florida’s manatees.
This week’s announcement is the feds’ first step toward providing much better protection for these gentle and playful creatures, the only vegetarian marine mammals. Now the Service must do a thorough review of their status and decide whether to restore their protection this winter.
“This is the right call for manatees and everyone who cares about these charming creatures,” said Center lawyer Ragan Whitlock. “Manatees need every ounce of protection they can get.”
Help us fight for manatees with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Wolves Are Returning (But Still Need Help)
By 1960, hunting and trapping had nearly eradicated gray wolves from the contiguous United States. Thanks to Endangered Species Act protection, they’re finally regaining a foothold in California — a new pack with four pups was recently confirmed in Sequoia National Monument, where wolves hadn’t been seen for a century.
Hear about these top predators’ vital role in keeping ecosystems healthy in this new interview with the Center’s Amaroq Weiss.
Spooky Season Is for Saving Species
Still looking for a Halloween costume for yourself, kids, or pets? We’ve got an idea for you: Dress up as an endangered species — then join us on social media using the hashtag #EndangeredCostume to share your costume and its inspiration.
Check out our new article on Medium for tips on where to gather materials and how to create costumes, plus photos of how we’ve dressed as species in the past and some reasons why costumes are an awesome way to grow the movement for saving life on Earth.
Revelator: A Book on Wildlife and Climate Change
A recent book shows how climate change threatens myriad species — but there are ways people can help.
Head over to The Revelator to read an excerpt from Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth.
That’s Wild: Hilarious Animal Photos
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Photo credits: Bearded seal by foilistpeter/Flickr; American bumblebee by Matthew Allen/iNaturalist; manatees courtesy NOAA; border wall construction courtesy DHS, cougar © AGAMI Stock via Canva, and Laiken Jordahl screenshot courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; gray wolf pups courtesy ODFW; family in costume and person with jaguar mask courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; waterfowl in Texas by Beverly Moseley/NRCS; toque macaque © Oskanov via Canva.
Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702