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Suit Launched to Save 403 Southeast Species

Few places in the continental United States rival the Southeast when it comes to biodiversity in peril. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the feds last week for ignoring the plight of 403 freshwater animals and plants in the Southeast that face the dismal prospect of extinction.

From the hellbender salamander to the Florida sandhill crane, these very different species all have one thing in common: Their survival depends on the health of the Southeast's waterways, fast declining due to dams, pollution, growing demand for water and climate change. But the Obama administration still hasn't responded to the Center's 2010 petition to protect these 403 species under the Endangered Species Act.

Read more in The Birmingham News.

Walrus Defended From Warming, Oil Drilling

There's no time to waste in saving the Pacific walrus from global warming and dangerous Arctic oil drilling. Yet in response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Obama administration decided not to protect this mighty, tusked mammal under the Endangered Species Act, instead relegating it to the ever-growing "candidate" list, which now includes a whopping 260 imperiled species waiting indefinitely for federal safeguards.

The Pacific walrus depends on Arctic sea ice for giving birth, resting and raising young. But in recent years, summer sea ice has disappeared from the walrus's shallow foraging grounds, leading the animals to congregate by the thousands on Alaskan and Russian shores -- where calves can be killed by predators or trampled to death in stampedes. Meanwhile, Shell Oil is pushing to drill in the walrus's Alaska habitat in 2012 and 2013.

Read more in Alaska Dispatch.

Center Petitions for Rare Sierra Nevada Fox

The Center for Biological Diversity yesterday petitioned to earn Endangered Species Act protection for the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the rarest wild canines in North America. The small, slender fox survives in just two California locations in the Sierra Nevada, with fewer than 50 individuals remaining . . . and possibly fewer than 20. Any one of a long list of threats -- including livestock grazing, off-road vehicles, logging and global warming -- could drive the fox extinct. But while it's been protected under the California Endangered Species Act since 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never granted this fox the federal safeguards it needs.

Read more in The Modesto Bee.

Suit Moves Forward Against Risky Offshore Drilling

At a hearing in a New Orleans courtroom this week, the Center for Biological Diversity made its case against the federal government's rubber-stamp on oil-drilling plans in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Our case challenges 10 drilling plans approved after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that were given an exemption from environmental review, even while millions of gallons of oil spewed from BP's ruptured well. The feds' decision to let these plans move forward lacked any mention whatsoever of the oil spill -- assuming, as did the plan for BP's drilling, that there's essentially no chance of a large spill.

The Center has launched nine lawsuits over the Gulf of Mexico disaster, including one against BP for $19 billion worth of damages to the delicate Gulf ecosystem and its sea turtles, fish, marine mammals and birds.

Read more in Bloomberg.

Hop to Action for Save the Frogs Day

Tomorrow, April 29, is international Save the Frogs Day. The Center for Biological Diversity is giving you a chance to get a jump on the action today to save frogs from one of their biggest threats: the toxic pesticide atrazine, which also harms other wildlife and even humans.

Atrazine is an "endocrine disruptor" that mutates the reproductive systems of male frogs -- even when it's used at levels 30 times lower than those currently allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet it's the most commonly used herbicide in the entire United States.

Help save frogs across the country now: Tell the EPA to reevaluate atrazine -- and ideally ban it altogether. Then learn about the Center's campaigns for amphibian conservation and pesticides reduction and find out about Save the Frogs Day events.

Lawsuit Brewing for Dwindling Southeast Fish

The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a notice of intent to sue the Obama administration for denying federal protection to the Alabama shad, a fast-declining Southeast fish. Once a common species in rivers from Florida to Oklahoma, this silver-sided, foot-long fish has been hit hard by dams, pollution, drought and other threats and is now thought to survive in just a handful of populations in four states. The Alabama shad is the only fish in Alabama that lives mostly in the ocean but migrates to rivers to spawn.

"There is no question that the Alabama shad has undergone dramatic declines and needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center. "The decision not to consider the shad for protection failed to follow either the law or the science."

Read more in our press release.

New Chance to Save Grand Canyon From Uranium -- Take Action

Some good news in our fight to save the Grand Canyon ecosystem: After receiving almost 30,000 emails from Center for Biological Diversity supporters, the Obama administration has extended the deadline for comments on a draft plan that could save 1 million acres of the Grand Canyon watershed from destructive new uranium mining. Thank you.

Now we have amazing momentum to keep pressuring federal agencies to protect all 1 million Grand Canyon acres -- and we need to take full advantage of that. Uranium mining threatens the wildlife, wildlands and water of one of the most phenomenal natural landmarks in the world. Your voice -- and those of everyone you know -- will help keep these pristine places protected from dangerous and polluting uranium mining.

Take action for the Grand Canyon and watch en eye-opening video about saving it -- and don't forget to forward the page to your friends and share it on Facebook. Then learn about the Center's longstanding Grand Canyon campaign.

Tell the EPA to End the Use of Toxic Methyl Iodide

Can you believe a pesticide that's been called "one of the most toxic chemicals on earth" is still being used? Indeed it is. But now we have an opportunity to finally stop cancer-causing methyl iodide. Despite intense pressure from the pesticide industry, the Environmental Protection Agency is now reconsidering its decision to keep methyl iodide on the market. Pesticide promoters will be out in full force to keep this dangerous product in use. The EPA needs to hear from you that the science is clear: This pesticide is way too toxic to be used safely, and it needs to be banned.

Take action now to urge EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to end all uses of methyl iodide nationwide. Then learn more about the Center's campaign against toxic pesticides.

Help the Center Save Species -- Vote for Us Now

Here's an easy way to help earn money for the Center for Biological Diversity: the free click of a button.

Each year, the philanthropy-minded company Working Assets and its CREDO Mobile branch donate a portion of their members' charges to a select group of progressive organizations like ours. We're excited to be on the ballot, but the amount of money we receive at the end of the year will depend on how many of you vote for us. If you're not a Working Assets or CREDO customer, all you have to do is sign up as a CREDO action member, which lets you take online action with CREDO on important issues. Then you can go to the Working Assets voting page and assign maximum points to the Center. It's easy, quick and very helpful to our cause of saving species, from the great polar bear to the tiny Miami blue butterfly.

Please support us -- sign up and vote here now. Then tell your friends to do the same.

Wild and Weird: Hard Stares From a Mollusk

Think your mother-in-law has a stony gaze? Turns out, so do marine mollusks called chitons.

On the backs of their shells, chitons have hundreds of beadlike structures making up rock-crystal "lenses." Before now, nobody knew what these eye-like structures could do. But a new study shows that not only can they allow chitons to detect changes in light intensity; they actually let the creatures see shapes -- signaling, for example, whether a predator is approaching.

Read more in National Geographic. Then check out the Center for Biological Diversity's campaign against ocean acidification, an immediate threat to chitons and other marine species with hard skeletons and shells.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Florida sandhill crane courtesy Flickr Commons/Neil Jansen; hellbender courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Brian Gratwicke; Pacific walrus by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA; Sierra Nevada red fox by Keith Slausen, USFWS; oiled pelican courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; California red-legged frog (c) Colin Brown; Alabama shad (c) The Native Fish Conservancy; Grand Canyon (c) Taylor McKinnon; strawberry field courtey Flickr Commons/benketaro; polar bear (c) Brendan Cummings; lined chiton courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Taollan82.

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