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Wandering Wolf OR-7 May Have Finally Found Love

Gray wolf It's springtime, and love is in the air -- at least for the previously lone male wolf known as OR-7, famous for wandering from Oregon into California in 2011 and several times since then. Remote cameras in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest have spotted a black female wolf in the same area as OR-7, raising the distinct possibility that he could finally have a mate and may be a father.

It's big news for the most famous wolf on the West Coast and an important development in the Center's work to ensure fledgling wolf populations are protected in California, Oregon and Washington. This summer California wildlife officials are expected to decide whether to extend state Endangered Species Act protections to wolves. OR-7's potential mate is a powerful indication that wolves are expanding and preparing to establish packs in new areas -- and that these wolves need protection if they're going to recover.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Antarctic Ice-sheet Collapse Now "Appears Unstoppable"

Thwaites glacier tongueSprawling clusters of glaciers in west Antarctica have begun an irreversible collapse that could cause sea levels to rise an additional 4 feet over the next two centuries, according to two studies released Monday. Researchers had once figured the Antarctic ice sheets, which contain 80 percent of the world's fresh water, would remain intact for thousands of years in the face of global warming. The grim new studies have found that losses are already underway as warmer ocean waters lap away the bottom of the ice shelf, causing them to melt faster than once thought.

"There is no red button to stop this," said Eric Rignot, a UC Irvine professor involved in one of the studies. "The only question is how fast it's going to go."

The National Climate Assessment issued last week predicted sea levels at some U.S. cities could rise by 4 feet or more by 2100 -- but those estimates didn't fully incorporate the new science emerging from Antarctica. All the more reason for the Obama administration, and governments around the world, to begin massive carbon pollution reductions to limit the damage.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

To Catch a (Burl) Thief: Reward Offered to Save Redwoods From Poaching

Redwood burlRedwood burls are big protrusions on California redwoods, commercially prized for their intricately patterned wood; removing them hurts the giant trees and sometimes results in tree death. In response to a recent spike in burl-poaching incidents -- including the felling of a 400-year-old tree 4 feet in diameter to reach a burl 50 feet from the ground -- the Center for Biological Diversity and allies on Monday offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to prosecution of poachers.

Because of commercial logging, less than 5 percent of California's original old-growth forest remains. Nearly all of these old-growth redwoods -- and their burls -- live within the protected boundaries of national and state parks in Northern California. Burl poaching not only scars these prized redwood parks but can hurt threatened and endangered species, like the marbled murrelet, that depend on the old growth. On Wednesday investigators at Redwoods National and State Parks announced the arrest of a California man on suspicion of poaching old-growth redwoods and that several other similar investigations are ongoing.

Read more in our press release.

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Climate Assessment: A Troubling Future for Wildlife -- Watch Video

Northern spotted owl Lost in much of the media attention of the National Climate Assessment last week was what the climate crisis will mean for wildlife.

"Many species," the report said, "may not be able to keep pace with climate change" and the result will be highly altered ecosystems "that bear little resemblance to those of today." For instance, 47 percent of habitat for all trout species in the western United States could be gone by 2080. Spotted owl populations in Arizona and New Mexico are expected to decline and possibly go extinct; wolverines in the Rocky Mountains will see their habitat further fragmented as spring snowpack disappears; and the likely devastating effects on species like polar bears, ringed seals and corals have been well-publicized.

Check out our new video and then learn more on this interactive map from the National Climate Assessment.

Last Caribou in Lower 48 States Stay Protected

CaribouAn attack on caribou protection by the anti-environment Pacific Legal Foundation failed last week when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that mountain caribou, which exist in the United States only in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington, continue to need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision came in response to a petition from PLF, snowmobilers and others that had sought to remove protections for the stately animals, whose hooves are the size of dinner plates to allow them to navigate winter snows. A mere 30 individuals, at most, cling to survival south of the U.S.-Canada border.

It's a relief that our last population of woodland caribou will continue to be protected, but fast action will be needed to make sure we don't lose them from the lower 48 forever. That should include bringing in Canadian caribou, which is crucial for genetic resilience and protection from snowmobiles, logging and other threats.

Read more in the Idaho Statesman.

Lawsuit Filed to Protect 5 Pacific Northwest Herps

Oregon slender salamanderFollowing almost two years of government inaction, the Center last week filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to act on a petition to grant lifesaving protection to five increasingly rare amphibians in the Pacific Northwest: the Cascades frog, Oregon slender salamander and three torrent salamanders.

The threats to these herps include logging, pesticides and climate change -- human causes, in other words, that speak to a larger trend now that nearly 1 in 3 amphibians worldwide is at risk of winking out. The loss is all the more alarming because frogs, toads and salamanders play important roles as predators and prey in their ecosystems and are valuable indicators of environmental health.

"There's broad scientific consensus that frogs and salamanders face a profound, human-driven extinction crisis that requires prompt action," said Collette Adkins Giese, a Center biologist and lawyer. "The Endangered Species Act has a nearly perfect record of stopping animals from going extinct -- it's hands-down our best tool for saving these guys."

Read more in our press release, then learn more about the Center's work to reverse the tide of the amphibian and reptile extinction crisis.

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In Memoriam: Farley Mowat, Acclaimed Author and Environmental Champion

Farley MowatLast week we lost a great champion of wildlife, First Nations, and the Arctic with the passing of Canadian author Farley Mowat, 92. During his more than 60 years of writing, Mowat challenged readers to open their hearts to the natural world through moving, funny and often heartwrenching prose describing the beauty of nature and our too-often careless destruction of it.

His first book, "People of the Deer" (1952), chronicled the plight of the Inuit and was based on personal observations Mowat made during a summer in the Canadian Arctic in the 1940s; his most famous book "Never Cry Wolf" (1963), later made into a movie, is widely credited with changing people's views of these beautiful animals.

In 1985 Mowat was denied entry to the United States for a book tour of "Sea of Slaughter," which chronicled the devastating destruction of wildlife along the U.S. and Canadian eastern seaboard. His barring occurred under a McCarthy Era law known as the McCarran-Walter Act, which allowed denial of entry to "communist sympathizers." He challenged the denial and eventually prevailed, all of which was documented in his book "My Discovery of America" (1985), which contributed to the law being amended, although not repealed.

"With his exquisite writing bringing life to the spirit of animals and the natural world, while at the same time chronicling the callousness of our destruction of wildlife for personal gain or out of plain ignorance, Farley Mowat changed my life and the lives of many," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "Farley's clear voice and humor will be deeply missed."

Learn more in this CBC tribute to Mowat.

Help Celebrate Endangered Species Day -- Send e-Cards

Polar bearsEvery day is Endangered Species Day here at the Center, but tomorrow is the official day set aside by the U.S. Senate to celebrate our nation's most imperiled animals and plants. It's an opportunity to talk about why we care so much about polar bears, wolves and sea turtles -- and even warty boreal toads, Cumberland Gap cave beetles and White Bluffs bladderpods. They all deserve a place in the world, and it's our collective task to make room for them.

So help us celebrate these incredible and imperiled species this week. Take two minutes and send your friends and family one of our e-postcards reminding them that many plants and animals are in trouble -- and that if we pull together, we can save them.

Check out our e-cards today.

Wild & Weird: Squirrels Against Selfies

SquirrelSelfies are a defining mode of expression for a generation reared on smartphones and social media; one British study found that 18- to 24-year-olds take more pictures of themselves than any other single subject.

Critics have argued that this obsession with self-portraits and the lengths to which people will go to snap them -- sometimes putting their reputations or even lives on the line -- is evidence of cultural narcissism and a moral decline from "know thyself" to "show thyself."

We're talking about human critics, of course. But what about the squirrels? In Florida earlier this month, a teen named Brian posed for a selfie alongside a cute squirrel on a handrail. No spoilers here, but what happened next was the stuff of nightmares -- see the pics in The Washington Post.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Gray wolves courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Sander van der Wel; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Spirit-Fire; Thwaites glacier tongue courtesy Wikimedia Commons/James Yungel, NASA ICE; redwood burl courtesy Flickr/cene w.k.; wolves by John Pitcher; northern spotted owl by Tom Kogut, USDA Forest Service; caribou courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Dean Biggins, USFWS; Oregon slender salamander by Steve Wagner; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Farley Mowat illustration courtesy deviantart/lezleydavidson; polar bears courtesy Flickr/Martha de Jong-Lantink; squirrel courtesy Flickr/Frank Tellez.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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