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Half-million People to Obama: Keep Wolf Protections -- Thank You

Gray wolfNo ambiguity here: The Obama administration heard from nearly half a million people this week speaking out against a plan to revoke Endangered Species Act protection from almost all wolves in the lower 48 states. The comments follow some 1 million previous comments, submitted late last year, against the infamous U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal.

Clearly, ending federal protections will lead to more wolf deaths -- Idaho's governor just signed a death warrant for 500 wolves that lost federal protection three years ago -- and will foreclose the possibility of wolves returning to their ancient homes in the southern Rockies, Northeast and California.

No endangered species decision has ever prompted so many official comments from American citizens. It's a historic moment; let's hope the administration takes heed. Thanks to all of you who've spoken out, and stay tuned for info on how to take more action.

Read more in our press release.

Court Rejects Attempt to Halt 757 Species Protection Agreement

Miami blue butterflyA federal court this week dismissed a lawsuit that tried to dismantle the Center for Biological Diversity's far-reaching agreement expediting protection decisions for 757 imperiled species around the country. So far 138 species have been protected or proposed for protection as a result of the deal, including Miami blue butterflies, Ozark hellbenders, wolverines and scores of other at-risk animals and plants.

The National Association of Home Builders and other industry groups sued to overturn the agreement, and on Monday a federal judge dismissed their claim, saying the groups didn't show how they could be harmed by the very existence of a process for making protection decisions.

"The Endangered Species Act provides ample opportunity for the Home Builders and any other citizen, state or group to participate, comment and even challenge the result of protection decisions," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "What they can't do is trample democracy by insisting that the government make no decision at all."

Read more in E & E News.

Tell EPA to Stop Doing Business With Oil-spilling BP -- Take Action

Oiled pelicanJust days after an EPA ban was lifted, allowing British oil giant BP to resume bidding on federal contracts, the company has proven itself undeserving of forgiveness. BP's Whiting refinery in northwest Indiana on March 24 spilled as much as 1,638 gallons of crude oil directly into Lake Michigan, harming the area's wildlife and threatening the drinking-water supply of 7 million people.

Gulf Coast residents and wildlife are still reeling from BP's Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in 2010 -- the most devastating oil spill in U.S. history. This latest spill is just one more reminder that the multinational can't be trusted as a business partner. That's why the Center this week petitioned the EPA to end its dealings with the corporation.

"How many more spills will it take for the Obama administration to say enough is enough?" said the Center's Jaclyn Lopez.

Act now to urge the EPA to put BP back on the federal no-contract list.

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Suit Launched Pushing for Protection of Rare Alaskan Wolves

Alexander Archipelago wolfThe Alexander Archipelago wolf -- a majestic wild wolf native to Alaska -- took a step toward Endangered Species Act protection on Friday when the Fish and Wildlife Service, finally responding to our 2011 petition, conceded that the shy, persecuted predator may need federal safeguards due to unsustainable logging destroying its habitat in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska.

But time is short to save these animals as their habitat falls beneath the ax, so the Center, Greenpeace and the Boat Company on Wednesday filed a notice of intent to sue the agency if it doesn't speed up its action to protect the rare, often black-colored gray wolves.

"The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska's most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it's to have any chance at survival," said Rebecca Noblin, the Center's Alaska director. "The Endangered Species Act can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting."

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Island Lizards and Island Geese: Two Breaking Success Stories

Island night lizard Two endangered species from different Pacific islands were in the media this week for their remarkable recovery under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act: Hawaiian geese, called nene, and island night lizards, which live off the coast of Southern California.

Biologists recently found a breeding pair of nene (Branta sandvicensis) -- the state bird of Hawaii and the world's rarest goose -- nesting on Oahu, where they hadn't been seen for hundreds of years. Common on the islands during the time of Captain Cook's explorations in 1778, the geese had been reduced to a population of only 30 by 1952. Conservation and breeding programs have brought their number up to 2,000, mostly on the island of Kauai, since they were protected in 1967 under a precursor to the Endangered Species Act.

Farther east, on California's Channel Islands, island night lizards (Xantusia riversiana) were declared recovered Monday due to decades of protective measures carried out under the Act since 1977. There are now more than 21 million of these lizards thriving on the islands, rescued by recovery plan efforts that focused on removal of the imported pigs and goats that were tearing up the lizards' habitat.

The Endangered Species Act has enabled not only the survival of hundreds of endangered species, but also some spectacular recoveries. Learn more about the Act's successes at our Endangered Species Act Success website -- and read details about the island night lizard's recovery in the Los Angeles Times.

Loopholes in Protection Decision Will Hurt Lesser Prairie Chickens

Lesser prairie chickenThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided last week to protect highly imperiled lesser prairie chickens only as "threatened," rather than "endangered," putting in place special exemptions that would allow destruction of many of these strutting, grouse-like birds and their dwindling grassland habitat.

The Service has increasingly used the Act's Section 4(d) to create loopholes that allow continued habitat destruction and harm to species. In the case of the prairie chickens, the Service last month also endorsed a deal that would allow the oil and gas industry alone to kill the equivalent of nearly half the remaining birds in the next 10 years.

"Drought and habitat destruction are devastating the small remaining population of this magnificent grassland bird," said Jay Lininger, a senior scientist with the Center. "The state-level plans and voluntary measures will not get traction fast enough to prevent extinction."

Read more in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

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New Science Report: Cut Meat Consumption to Cut Climate Pollution

CowCurbing the climate crisis isn't just about cutting pollution from factories, cars and power plants. If we're going to tackle the climate impacts outlined in the report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we've also got to address our rising consumption of meat and dairy products.

As the world's human population grows, so will diets high in meat, milk and cheese -- and, subsequently, climate pollution from food production. If agricultural emissions are left unchecked, nitrous oxide and methane from livestock could double by 2070 and make it nearly impossible to meet key goals for curbing climate change, according to a separate new study, released by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

That's a big part of the Center's new campaign to reduce the consumption of meat, calling for Americans to "take extinction off your plate."

"We can't ignore the devastating impact of meat consumption on our climate and our planet anymore," said Stephanie Feldstein, the Center's population and sustainability director.

Learn more about our Earth-friendly Diet campaign and sign our pledge to eat less meat.

Wild & Weird: Watch Corals Bloom at Superspeed

Coral polypsThe day-to-day activities of corals are hard to fathom. During the day their polyps sit, covered in symbiotic algae that bask in solar light and make food through photosynthesis. At night these same polyps bloom flower-like tentacles that extend for predatory pursuits, pulling prey toward their inverted guts and digesting just about anything they can reach.

But this all happens at speeds so slow that humans, more attuned to the wow factor of faster-moving species like hawks and cats, aren't able to watch the process. Looking at corals in real time is like looking at pretty rocks.

But a new eye-popping time-lapse video by Daniel Stoupin, a Ph.D. student at the University of Queensland in Australia, reveals the movements of corals through thousands of microscopic photographs and time-lapse in a way that reminds us that corals are not only important to ocean environments but are also a dynamic species, both beautiful and violent.

Watch Stoupin's short film "Slow Life" and check out his blog for more on corals.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Gray wolves courtesy Flickr/doublejwebers; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Oregon State University; Miami blue butterfly by Jaret C. Daniels, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity; oiled pelican courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Louisiana GOHSEP; Alexander Archipelago wolf (c) Michelle Rogers; island night lizard by Charles Drost, NPS; lesser prairie chicken courtesy Flickr/J.N. Stuart; cow courtesy Flickr/Rick Harrison; coral polyps courtesy Flickr/FromSandToGlass.

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