Center for Biological Diversity

Emperor penguins

Donate today

Take action now

Bookmark and Share


Emperor Penguins Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection

Emperor penguinsIn response to a Center for Biological Diversity petition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that Antarctica's emperor penguins may need Endangered Species Act protection based on threats from climate change. The most ice-dependent penguins in the world, emperors are threatened by loss of sea ice and a declining supply of krill linked to warming oceans.

"Our carbon pollution is melting the sea-ice habitat emperor penguins need to survive," said Shaye Wolf, our climate science director. "Emperor penguins are the icons of wild Antarctica, and they need rapid cuts in carbon pollution and Endangered Species Act protections if they're going to have a future."

Emperor penguins rely on sea ice for raising their chicks and foraging. In the regions of Antarctica where sea ice is shrinking, some penguin colonies have declined or disappeared; the colony featured in the film March of the Penguins has declined by more than 50 percent. In 2006 the Center filed a petition to list 12 penguin species, including the emperor penguin, as threatened or endangered. The agency protected seven species but denied protection to the emperor, so in 2011 we re-petitioned to protect the emperor based on new scientific information demonstrating the species is imperiled.

And now our work is paying off: On Tuesday the Service agreed to conduct a full scientific review to determine if this penguin should finally be protected under the Act.

Read more in the Wisconsin Gazette.

Stop This Wildlife Extermination Program -- Watch Video, Take Action

BeaverUnder various names, the federal program that now calls itself "Wildlife Services" has exterminated millions of animals since the early part of the 20th century -- many different species, from beavers to birds -- currently at an average rate of 1.5 million animals every year. The program's most recent "killed/euthanized" list includes red-winged blackbirds, coyotes, beavers, foxes, black bears and wolves.

In December the Center and allies filed a petition with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking him to make Wildlife Services operate under new rules to ensure that animals aren't killed without cause or by accident, that animals are only killed when nonlethal means are exhausted, and that reliable information on all killings is made public.

We need your help to reform this rogue program. Please watch our new video and take action now to urge Secretary Vilsack to end Wildlife Services' reckless and destructive killing of our wildlife.

Petition: Protect the West Coast Homes of World's Rarest Orcas

Killer whalesPuget Sound's unique population of orcas, or killer whales, were on a steep path toward extinction until Center litigation won them Endangered Species Act protection a few years ago -- followed by protection of 2,500 acres of their summer habitat in the Sound. But all's not black and white when it comes to where these striking black-and-white whales live: New satellite research shows they travel far from Washington's Puget Sound in winter and spring to forage, even down to Northern California.

"Now that we know," said the Center's Miyoko Sakashita in a recent op-ed, "it only makes sense to protect those migratory areas too."

Last week the Center petitioned the feds to protect these whales' winter range off Washington, Oregon and California. The whales once numbered about 200, but now they're down to just 81 individuals. And they still face a long list of threats, including pollution, overfishing and ocean noise.

"All those threats will have to be addressed," said Miyoko, "but the immediate task should be safeguarding the last remaining places these rare whales need to survive."

Read Miyoko's op-ed in The Huffington Post.

Become a Member Today

What's on Your Plate? -- Take Our Survey

CowThe Center's Population and Sustainability program is breaking new ground this year. Besides tackling runaway human population growth, we're taking on several new sustainability campaigns, starting with meat consumption and production in the United States. We know that, if we're going to feed a U.S. population that now tops 300 million, we have to find a way to do it without sacrificing wildlife and natural habitat.

To get started we need your help. Please take 5 minutes today and tell us about your diet and how you think about food -- especially meat consumption, meat production and the environment. Your important input will help us shape our new Earth-friendly diet campaign. We'll keep your responses confidential, of course.

Take the survey today and then share it on Facebook.

The Official Word(s) on 2013: Hot, Hot, Hot

Parched landscapeIt wasn't all in your mind last year: Turns out 2013 was the fourth-hottest year on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week. Global land and ocean temperatures were 1.12 degrees above the norm in records going back to 1880.

And as if that's not enough, every single year since 1976 has been warmer than the post-1880 average -- and all 10 of the hottest years on record were after 1998.

Isn't it time to get serious? A year ago, during his State of the Union address, President Obama vowed to tackle the climate crisis, with or without Congress. So far federal action on climate change hasn't come close to matching the magnitude of the problem. Here's hoping next week's State of the Union actually spurs real action. Otherwise, it'll be more of the same for years to come -- and downhill from there.

Read more in USA TODAY.

Help on the Way for 7 Southwest Herps

Yuman Desert fringe-toed lizardThe Center notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of our intent to sue last week over its failure to address a July 2012 petition to protect seven threatened species from habitat loss and degradation. The herps up for Endangered Species Act review include the Rio Grande cooter (a small, beautiful turtle), Arizona toad, Arizona night lizard, Bezy's night lizard, reticulate collared lizard, Yuman Desert fringe-toed lizard and Cascade Caverns salamander.

Never heard of 'em? That may be because some of these animals spend their entire lives in Texas caves or gutting it out in the hot sands of western Arizona.

"The Southwest is home to some of the nation's most fascinating scaly and slimy creatures," said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist. "Although few people have heard of, let alone seen, a Bezy's night lizard or Rio Grande cooter, these unique species are an important part of the web of life."

Read more in the Yuma Sun.

Take Action

A Record Year for Trains Spilling Hazardous Crude Oil

StreamHere's some startling news: More oil was spilled from trains in the United States last year than during the previous 40 years combined. McClatchyDC reported this week that 1.15 million gallons of crude spilled in 2013 -- compared to a combined 800,000 gallons spilled from 1975 to 2012. (That doesn't include 1.5 million gallons spilled in Quebec last year in a derailment and explosion that killed 47 people.)

The drastic increase is part of an oil boom in places like North Dakota, where rail shipments have skyrocketed. Train derailments and oil spills not only threaten people and property but also rivers, streams and wildlife habitat -- not to mention the steep price our climate pays when all the oil is burned.

We know some of that hazardous oil is destined for parts of the Northeast, so we recently sent a letter to federal lawmakers urging a moratorium on rail transport of this oil in that region. Stay tuned for how you can help us in this fight.

Read more in McClatchyDC.

Just Released: Our Winter Newsletter

Winter newsletterWe're happy to share the winter 2014 issue of Endangered Earth, the Center's print newsletter, as an online PDF for easy viewing. Inside this special year-end edition, you'll find highlights of our historic successes in 2013 -- which included winning 750,000 total acres of federally protected "critical habitat" for animals and plants -- and a look ahead at our action plan for 2014. Defending wolves from state-sanctioned killing sprees, defeating the fracking boom, safeguarding millions of acres of wild lands and waters, breaking precedent to save our endangered oceans: This year promises to be monumental.

Curious about the details? Such as how many species the Center helped protect, how many Center activists live in California -- or Lithuania -- or even the number of furry "feet" the rabbitsfoot mussel has? Then don't miss our article "2013: The Year in Numbers" (page 3).

We make this members-only print newsletter available to our online supporters as a thank-you for taking action with the Center. Please consider becoming a member today and help us do even more for wildlife. Simply call us toll-free at 1-866-357-3349 x 311 or visit our support Web page to learn more and make a gift.

Read the winter 2014 issue now.

Wild & Weird: A Rhubarb Battery?

RhubarbOne major obstacle to the expansion of large-scale renewable energy is affordable, ample storage capacity. Consumers demand energy whether or not the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, which means utilities need to store plenty of energy for rainy, windless days.

And recently researchers at Harvard announced they've developed a new kind of battery that's metal-free and carbon-based. They say it could store twice as much energy as -- and cost significantly less than -- conventional batteries.

The Harvard battery stores energy through the electrochemical properties of small organic molecules called "quinones" -- which in this case were almost identical to molecules found in rhubarb but could be derived from other plants or crude oil.

Read more at Earth Techling.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Emperor penguins by laogephoto; emperor penguins by Michael Van Woert, NOAA; beaver courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; killer whales courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Robert Pittman, NOAA; cow courtesy Flickr/publicenergy; parched landscape courtesy Flickr/wwarby; Yuman Desert fringe-toed lizard by Jim Rorabaugh, USFWS; stream courtesy Flickr/AJHosgood; winter newsletter cover courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; rhubarb courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Miika Silferberg.

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.

Facebook "Like" Us on Facebook

Twitter Follow Us on Twitter

Twitter Follow Us on YouTube

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702