Center for Biological Diversity

Sierra Nevada red fox

Donate today

Take action now

Bookmark and Share


Suit Filed to Speed Safeguards for 10 Species: Fox, Hellbender, Birds, More

Eastern hellbenderThe Center for Biological Diversity's 757 agreement allows us to file deadline lawsuits annually for 10 species that aren't getting federal protection fast enough -- on top of the species outlined in the agreement. So last Thursday we did just that for two birds, a rare mountain fox, a giant salamander called the "hellbender," a lizard, a crayfish and a mussel. Federal decisions on these creatures are urgently needed to ensure they don't move closer to extinction.
The species include Sierra Nevada red foxes -- some of the world's most endangered mammals, with fewer than 50 individuals left -- as well as eastern hellbenders, stream-dwelling salamanders that can grow to be more than 2 feet long. Also covered are Bicknell's thrushes, which live in the mountains of the Northeast, and four Florida animals -- Florida Keys mole skinks, MacGillivray's seaside sparrows, Panama City crayfish and Suwannee moccasinshells.
Threats to the species are many and include logging, grazing, climate change, rising sea levels, drought, dams, groundwater depletion, pollution and development.
Read more in E&E News and the Miami Herald.

Big-eared Bat Wins Protections in California

Townsend's big-eared batIn response to a petition from the Center, the California Fish and Game Commission last week named the Townsend's big-eared bat a candidate for protection as an endangered species under the state's Endangered Species Act. The state law's candidate status, unlike federal candidate status, will give the bat instant protection. Townsend's bats occur across much of California but are widely threatened by human disturbance, habitat destruction and a disease called white-nose syndrome.

"Right now, before this disease strikes, is exactly when we need to be identifying the caves in California that are home to bats, and restricting human access," said Center Endangered Species Program Director Noah Greenwald. "It'd be tragic to see our bats killed off because we failed to take action."

Get more from KCET.

Opposition Mounts Against California's Willits Bypass -- Take Action

Redwood treesIn a court packed with friends and allies, Center for Biological Diversity attorneys Aruna Prabhala and Adam Keats recently made their final oral arguments to stop the Willits Bypass, a proposed four-lane freeway planned for Northern California that would destroy wetlands, cut down massive trees, and slice through habitat for salmon and other imperiled species.

The Center is part of a growing coalition of environmental groups and local activists that are fighting this six-mile project. The California Department of Transportation, with the support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is currently pushing the bypass -- which would reroute traffic around the town of Willits -- though they have yet to analyze other less-destructive alternatives or fully justify why the bypass is needed in the first place.

We're working with an inspiring alliance of activists opposing this project any way we can, including through tree-sitting, rallies and protests.

Learn more about this project from San Francisco's ABC-7. Then, if you live in California, take action to stop it.

Caught on Tape: One of World's Rarest Orchids -- Watch Video

Coleman's coralrootColeman's coralroot is a stunning purple orchid that exists in only a few mountain ranges in the Southwest. Fewer than 200 are known to exist in the wild, and they remain a mystery: Biologists don't even know how the flowers are pollinated, largely because there are so few individuals -- and because the elusive plants spend most of their lives underground.

It's extremely rare to actually see these orchids in the wild. Recently, though, Center for Biological Diversity staff wandered the desert and found two specimens in full bloom; we captured them on video so that you, too, can see this beautiful hermit of the desert in all its glory.

Check out our video of the Coleman's coralroot; then read about the Center's work to protect this orchid and other rare plants and animals in the Southwest's breathtaking Sky Islands region, where many special species and wild places are threatened by an open-pit mine planned for the Santa Rita Mountains. 

Are You Eating a Lab Experiment? Demand Your Right to Know

Genetically engineered bananaDid you know that as much as 70 percent of processed foods on American supermarket shelves include at least one type of genetically modified crop? Genetically engineered foods -- also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs -- come from lab experiments that combine genes of different organisms to form new varieties to improve resistance to pesticides, increase tolerance of drought and other weather conditions, or enhance nutritional properties. But growing scientific evidence suggests they're also linked to a range of health and environmental risks, including loss of wildlife diversity and greater pesticide use.

Right now Congress is considering the new Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, which would require clear labeling of genetically engineered products and demand corporate transparency from agribusiness. This bill promotes your right to know -- and it needs your support.

Learn more about genetically engineered foods and take action for this important bill. 

Feds' Plan Leaves Bats Vulnerable in Rockies -- Take Action

Little brown bat with white-nose syndromeDespite appeals from the Center and bat conservationists across the United States, the U.S. Forest Service is moving to reopen Rocky Mountains caves for recreation. These caves have been closed since 2010 to help prevent human spread of the fungus causing the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome, which has already killed about 7 million bats and may have reached as far west as Oklahoma.

The new Forest Service plan rejects year-round closures of caves where susceptible bats hibernate, despite the agency's own findings that the current closure policy would do more to protect bats.

"The first tragedy of white-nose syndrome is the disease itself," said Mollie Matteson, a Center bat specialist. "The second is the failure of our government wildlife agencies -- whose mission is to protect our public lands and species -- to do their utmost to safeguard these creatures. Thirty years from now, will anyone feel good that caving went on more or less as usual, but the bats that lived in our caves disappeared?"

Check out our press release and take action to fight white-nose syndrome.

Jaguar Photographed Near Arizona's Proposed Rosemont Mine

Male jaguar caught on camera in Arizona's Santa Rita MountainsRemote cameras have snapped a number of photos of the first jaguar known to live in the United States since 15-year-old jaguar "Macho B" was killed in March 2009. The pics were taken over a period of months in southern Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains, where the male jaguar was captured on film as he roamed just west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site, southeast of Tucson, inside proposed critical habitat for the species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is scheduled to make a decision on that critical habitat Aug. 20. And the photos were released just as federal agencies are nearing completion of a draft "biological opinion" document on whether the planned copper mine will hurt jaguars and nine other federally protected species, including ocelots, lesser long-nosed bats and Chiricahua leopard frogs.
Said the Center's Michael Robinson, "It's hard to see how an area with possibly the only jaguar living in the wild in the United States, how that habitat would not be essential to recovery here."
Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Documents Reveal State Game Officials Led Push to Strip Wolf Protections Nationwide

Gray wolfNewly obtained documents show last month's proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves across the country was preordained three years ago after meetings with state wildlife officials.
The Endangered Species Act says protection decisions must be made solely on the basis of the best available science. And yet the newly revealed documents, provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to satisfy a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, suggest the Service pushed to delist wolves in order to obtain a political outcome desired by state fish and game agencies and outlined at an August 2010 meeting. The decisions made at that meeting, it now appears, were largely adopted in the agency's June 2013 proposal to end federal protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48.
"This process made a mockery of the spirit of the Endangered Species Act. These documents show that years ago the Fish and Wildlife Service effectively handed over the reins on wolf recovery to state fish and game agencies, many of which are openly hostile to wolves," said Brett Hartl, the Center's endangered species policy director.

Read more in our press release, then take action to help save wolves across the country.

Wild & Weird: David Hasselhoff Crab Faces Extinction

Yeti crabThe hairy-chested Yeti crab -- nicknamed the "Hoff" by deep-sea scientists for its physique's resemblance to the luscious body hair of famously cheesy TV star David Hasselhoff -- could very well go extinct due to warming oceans caused by climate change.

The "Hoff" was first discovered in 2009 hanging out around hydrothermal vents deep beneath the Indian and Arctic oceans, where water temperatures can reach 716 degrees Fahrenheit. One might think the crab could therefore survive a dozen or so degrees of temperature change, but according to a recent report, as the oceans warm, the ability of oxygen-rich surface water to mix with deep ocean water is diminished, reducing the oxygen levels in the deep sea.

This could cause mass extinctions for many of the creatures that live within the precarious ecology of deep-sea vents. Well, the real Hoff survived Baywatch -- maybe his namesake crab can beat the odds too.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Sierra Nevada red fox courtesy U.S. Forest Service; eastern hellbender by Ed Thompson; Townsend's big-eared bat by Drew Stokes, USGS-BRD Western Ecological Research Center San Diego Field Station; redwood trees courtesy Flickr/Derek Bruff; Coleman's coralroot by Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity; genetically engineered banana courtesy Flickr/Antoine Couturier; little brown bat with white-nose syndrome by Marvin Moriarty, USFWS; jaguar photographed in the Santa Rita Mountains courtesy USFWS; gray wolf courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Yeti crab by Michel Segonzac, IFREMER.

This message was sent to .

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us.

Stay Connected:
Facebook Twitter

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702