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BLM Bans Cyanide Bombs on Public Lands
Following our June petition and years of work by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, we have amazing news: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management just banned M-44s, aka cyanide bombs, across the lands it manages. That’s 245 million acres.
For the past century, a federal program called Wildlife Services has used these horrifying traps to kill wolves, foxes, coyotes, and other wild canines deemed “undesirable” by Big Agriculture. Luring unsuspecting animals with a sweet-scented bait, M-44s spray sodium cyanide into their faces, causing a slow, agonizing death or severe injury. They also accidentally kill and injure nontarget creatures, from endangered species to family dogs and even children.
“The Bureau of Land Management did the right thing to protect wildlife, people and pets from these poison-spewing traps,” said Collette Adkins, director of the Center’s Carnivore Conservation program. “This good news is long overdue, but it’s outrageous that other federal and state agencies continue to use these deadly devices. We’re going to keep the pressure on until M-44s are pulled from federal lands across the country.”
If you’re one of the almost 45,000 supporters who’ve backed our fight against M-44s since 2019 alone, thank you. And thanks in advance for sticking with us as we battle on.
Petition Seeks Ban on Aerial Wolf-Killing in Idaho
On Tuesday the Center and allies petitioned the U.S. Forest Service to ban aerial shooting of wolves and other wildlife in Idaho national forests. We’re responding to the state’s controversial approval of private contractors’ proposals to shoot wolves from helicopters across millions of acres — which would also risk harm to grizzly bears and people.
“Killing wolves from helicopters is barbaric and scientifically unjustifiable, and we can’t let it happen in our national forests,” said Andrea Zaccardi, legal director of the Center’s Carnivore Conservation program.
Help our work for wolves with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. Donate now and get your gift matched.
Center Op-Ed: These Birds Don’t Need to Die
On a single night last month, roughly 1,000 birds died after flying into Lakeside Center at Chicago’s McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center.
Even more tragic: This and many similar incidents across the United States could’ve been prevented by building owners using the right measures and federal agencies enforcing the law.
Learn more in this op-ed cowritten by one of the Center’s newest endangered species advocates, Tara Zuardo.
Then take action to help stop the unnecessary deaths of migratory birds.
Border Train Would Slice Through Jaguar Habitat
Without doing an environmental review, the Mexican government is furtively planning a new train line in Sonora that would hurt human communities, risk ruining a rare firefly sanctuary, and destroy crucial habitat for endangered cats. The new line would run along the biodiverse Río Cocóspera, connecting to another line running through the U.S.-Mexico border — and cutting right through a wildlife corridor that lets jaguars and ocelots migrate to the U.S. Southwest.
“Any jaguars we see here in Arizona are part of the same population as those jaguars in and around the Río Cocóspera,” said the Center’s Russ McSpadden.
Stay tuned: We’re working with locals to elevate this issue in the press and build pressure against the train, and we may need your help. In the meantime, check out footage of an Arizona jaguar on Facebook and Instagram — and take action to help us save jaguars north of the border.
Endangered: A Board Game That Saves Species
The march of human “progress” threatens scores of species with extinction. Saving just one means conservationists must cooperate to help the species outlast dangers and win long-term survival.
That’s not just reality — it’s also a new cooperative board game called Endangered. The game brings to life the complex challenges conservationists face in trying to protect vulnerable animals and plants. The best part? The Center is built right into the game, and proceeds from its sale help fund our real-world work to save life on Earth.
Order Endangered through the Center’s store and get a limited-edition game card with it.
Settlement Will Safeguard Kangaroo Rats’ Home
The Center and allies just reached a legal settlement with the developer of the Lytle Creek Ranch project in Southern California. The agreement will let the development proceed while permanently protecting 177 acres of habitat occupied by San Bernardino kangaroo rats.
Protected as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (and state law too), these adorable mammals love dust baths and use their giant hind feet to tap out Morse-code-like communications to fellow rats.
“I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this precious habitat will be permanently protected for San Bernardino kangaroo rats,” said Center biologist Ileene Anderson.
The Revelator: A Big Dam Victory
Removing two aging dams on California’s Eel River would help salmon, lampreys and people, wrote The Revelator’s Tara Lohan in April. Back then the river’s future hung in the balance, but now the waterway has a new lease on life. PG&E just announced it’s moving forward with a multi-year project to remove the dams, which would make the Eel the longest free-flowing river in California.
Learn more in The Revelator.
That's Wild: Sea Stars Are All Head
Looking at sea stars, or starfish, you can’t see anything that would suggest a head. That’s led many scientists to conclude they don’t have heads. But new research published by a team at Stanford University and UC Berkeley shows pretty much the opposite.
The team used high-tech molecular and genomic techniques to study where different genes were expressed during sea stars’ development and growth. In young sea stars, the team found gene signatures associated with head development just about everywhere — but expressions of genes coding for an animal's torso and tail sections were largely missing. So basically, they concluded, over evolutionary time, sea stars lost their bodies to become only heads.
"It's as if the sea star is completely missing a trunk and is best described as just a head crawling along the seafloor," said Laurent Formery, lead author of the new study.
We know what you're thinking right about now: What about the arms? Well, basically, the arms are head too. (It's complicated.) Read this article to learn more.
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Photo credits: Fox by Peyman Zehtab Fard/Flickr; wolf eyes via Shutterstock; warbler by MCB2022/Wikimedia; screenshot from Sombra video by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; Endangered board game graphic courtesy Joe Hopkins; San Bernardino kangaroo rat courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior; Scott Dam by CalTrout/Kyle Schwartz; sea star by Paul Shaffner/Wikimedia.
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