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No. 1227, January 11, 2024
New Jaguar Caught on Trail Cam in Southern Arizona
Exciting news: A recent trail camera video from southern Arizona reveals a jaguar never before seen in the state.
The images, captured in December by a wildlife enthusiast and analyzed by the Center for Biological Diversity, confirm the eighth jaguar documented in the U.S. Southwest in the past three decades. Every jaguar has a unique pattern of rosettes — those signature spots — so we can identify individuals, but we don’t yet know whether this one is male or female. So far all the jaguars coming in from Mexico have been male.
“It’s a moment to celebrate,” said the Center’s Russ McSpadden. “After being nearly wiped out, these majestic cats continue to reestablish previously occupied territory despite border-wall construction, new mines, and other threats to their habitat.”
Take action to expand jaguar habitat north of the border — and welcome more of them in.
Preventable Tragedy: Whale Calf Hit by Ship
A two-month-old North Atlantic right whale calf whose head and face were grievously injured by a boat propeller was seen off the South Carolina coast Jan. 6. Fishermen sent pictures and video to NOAA Fisheries, which doesn’t expect the calf to survive.
There are fewer than 360 of these right whales left on Earth, and the calf is one of only nine babies born to the species so far this year. Vessel strikes and fishing-gear entanglement are the two main threats to the whales.
“Newborn calves are a crucial sign of hope and recovery for right whales, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking that one has been hit by a vessel,” said the Center’s Kristen Monsell. “This whale calf could have been saved by a speed-limit rule like the one we’ve been pushing for.”
Support the Center’s fight for whales with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Stop Climate-Killing Oil and Gas Projects
The United States has become the world’s biggest exporter of fracked gas. Now the Biden administration is poised to approve more than 20 new oil and gas export projects across the Gulf Coast.
Building new oil and gas export facilities would mean dredging rivers and other waterways, destroying thousands of acres of wetlands and coastal habitat that animals — including imperiled species like ocelots and Rice’s whales — need to survive.
And by exporting oil and gas, these projects will continuously amplify the fossil fuel pollution devastating wildlife, the climate, and people — including Gulf communities already bearing the brunt of industry pollution and climate change-driven storms.
To prevent catastrophic climate change, we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Tell the Biden administration to protect the Gulf Coast by rejecting these destructive oil and gas export projects.
Suit Aims to Save Leatherbacks From Fishing Gear
After migrating thousands of miles, endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles have to navigate a maze of dangerous fishing lines that can entangle and drown them. So the Center and allies just sued NOAA Fisheries for failing to protect these gentle, prehistoric giants.
The West Coast pot fishery for sablefish (aka butterfish or black cod) is now allowed in previously closed areas off Oregon and California — almost 2,000 square miles of which are in leatherback critical habitat.
“The government should never have rubber-stamped more space for sablefish pots when leatherbacks are on the verge of extinction,” said Center attorney Catherine Kilduff.
Center Op-ed: Taming My Bird Murderer
Much as we love our house cats, writes the Center’s Tierra Curry in a new column, they’re a serious threat to native wildlife when they’re allowed outside.
A study in Nature estimates that free-roaming domestic cats (including feral cats, one of whom Tierra adopted) are a threat to more than 2,000 species of birds, reptiles and small mammals — and 17% of those species are in need of conservation.
So, Tierra urges, keep on adoring those cats — but please show your love for other critters, too, by ensuring they stay inside.
That’s Wild: Neil the Seal
Last month a male elephant seal "hauled out" in Tasmania, and the world fell in love.
The 1,300-pound pinniped made his name cavorting in a small coastal town on Australia’s island state, where he liked to nap in front of parked cars, strike poses in the middle of streets, play with traffic cones, and generally ham it up for admiring passersby.
But elephant seals are a threatened species in Australia, and local conservation authorities have had to intervene to protect Neil from the disturbance and harassment fame can bring.
According to a fan account on TikTok, Neil the Seal is now back in the water, free for a while from pestering people. Elephant seals periodically come onto land to rest, so there’s a chance we’ll see more of this internet star in the future.
Watch Neil mixing it up on YouTube.
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Photo credits: Jaguar screenshot from video by Jason Miller; North Atlantic right whale photo courtesy FFWCC; ocelot by mirceax via Canva, Rice's whale courtesy NOAA; leatherback sea turtle hatchling by Muhammad Hudari via Canva; house cat by Cybele Knowles/Center for Biological Diversity; mural artist Kenia Lamarr by Mizzel Enterprise; grizzly bear and cub courtesy USGS; Neil the Seal by Matt Macdonald.
Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702