Center for Biological Diversity

OR-7's wolf pups

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Protection for California Wolves, Pups for OR-7

OR-7What an epic week for West Coast wolves. On Wednesday, responding to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to protect wolves under the state Endangered Species Act. The decision came just hours after it was confirmed that OR-7 -- the famous wolf that wandered into California in late 2011 and returned periodically -- had sired pups in southern Oregon.

The decision in California is a groundbreaking victory in our work to return wolves to parts of their historic range. As populations expand, it's vital that wolf families, like the one OR-7 just started, be protected from guns, traps and poisons.

And about those pups: Government biologists spotted two of OR-7's offspring earlier in the week and say there could be more; typically litters include four to six. It's the first time wolf pups have been born in the Oregon Cascades in decades.

Learn more in our press release, which also includes a photo of the new pups, and read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Landmark Study: Population, Consumption Driving Massive Wildlife Extinctions

Polar bearsA new study led by acclaimed conservation biologist Dr. Stuart Pimm of Duke University finds that wildlife are going extinct at a pace not seen in millions of years -- 1,000 times faster than the background rate. The primary drivers are human population growth and increased resource consumption.

It's the latest wake-up call that, if we're going to save a diversity of life on Earth, we need to move fast and begin addressing these key issues at the source. We've already lost magnificent species like the passenger pigeon, ivory-billed woodpecker and sea mink. Without action we stand to lose hundreds of others, including polar bears, American wolverines and Hawaiian monk seals.

The findings contained one hopeful note, however: Mammals, birds and amphibians would have moved 20 percent faster toward extinction over the past four decades if not for conservation efforts.

Read more in our press release and this Huffington Post op-ed by the Center's Noah Greenwald.

New Power Plant Rule Doesn't Do Enough to Fight Global Warming

Coal plantThe Obama administration's new plan to cut global warming pollution from power plants simply doesn't go far enough to address the climate crisis. Years ago scientists warned that developed countries like the United States must, by 2020, reduce their emissions 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels to avoid climate catastrophe. The rules unveiled Monday would, by 2030, reduce existing power plant emissions by just 7.7 percent below 1990 levels.

The plan comes on the heels of a report from federal scientists that global warming has already dangerously increased flood risks to American cities and is delivering intense heat waves, along with drought and heightened risks of wildlife extinction. Tackling the climate crisis will require much more than what the Obama administration has proposed.

"This is like fighting a wildfire with a garden hose," said the Center's Kevin Bundy. "We're glad the president has finally turned the water on, but it's just not enough to get the job done."

Read more in The Nation.

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Massive Climate Rally in New York City in September -- Save the Date

Keystone XL protestMark your calendar: The biggest demonstration in the history of the climate movement will happen in New York City on Sept. 20 and 21. The People's Climate March will be held just as world leaders and members of the United Nations gather to discuss the climate crisis. If we expect real action on global warming, we need to make our voices heard.

Join thousands of other activists for this important event. This peaceful protest for a healthy climate future will include a massive march through New York City with street theater, music, speakers and whatever creative energy you and your friends can bring.

Join the Center, and other allies for a monumental call to action on global warming. Circle the dates on your calendar and start talking with your friends.

Find out more and RSVP today.

Big Win Against Toxics: Dangerous Rat Poison to Cease Production -- Thank You

California condor After years of pressure from the Center, ally groups, government agencies, and you, our supporters, the maker of the rodenticide d-CON has finally agreed to pull its most hazardous products from store shelves. The poison d-CON is notorious for its extreme toxicity and ripple effects on creatures other than rodents, including children, cats and dogs living in houses using the product -- and even endangered species, from San Joaquin kit foxes to California condors, which eat poisoned rodents and are poisoned in turn.

Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of d-CON, had been challenging a decision by the EPA to limit the sale of super-toxic rat poison to avoid unintentional poisonings -- but it agreed last Friday to stop producing its super-toxic rat poisons and pull the worst products from store shelves by early 2015.

The Center will continue to pressure d-CON and other pesticide companies to eliminate dangerous products. And this momentous back-down by Big Pesticides couldn't have occurred without your passionate engagement on the issue: Nearly 50,000 letters were written by Center supporters opposing d-CON. Thank you.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Rare Flower Wins Protections; 2,200 Acres in California, Nevada

Webber's ivesiaWebber's ivesia is a tiny yellow flower in the rose family that grows only in California and Nevada -- and only in special rocky, clay-based soils that can take 1,000 years to form. This plant has been ravaged by human-related threats -- including invasive plants, more frequent and intense wildfires, off-road vehicles, roads, development, grazing and climate change -- that have whittled the Webber's ivesia down to just 16 known populations, some of which may already have disappeared since they were documented.

Luckily this little flower has been defended by the Center for a decade, and now our work is paying off. We petitioned to protect the Webber's ivesia under the Endangered Species Act in 2004 and included it in our landmark agreement in 2011 to speed up protection decisions on 757 species around the country. As a result the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday granted the plant final federal safeguards, along with 2,170 acres of protected "critical habitat."

Read more in our press release.

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Lawsuit Launched to Protect Rare Seabirds From Oregon Clearcuts

Marbled murreletLogging companies are lining up to clearcut three parcels of forests in western Oregon that are home to 750 acres of prime habitat for federally protected marbled murrelets, seabirds that come inland to nest and breed in mature and old-growth forests.

On Tuesday the Center and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the two timber companies to stop this clearcutting, which will eliminate the trees that murrelets need for nesting and leave them more susceptible to predators, pushing them closer to extinction.

The parcels, totaling 2,728 acres, once belonged to all Oregonians as part of the Elliott State Forest in Coos County. The state recently sold the land to the timber companies for $4.2 million, even though the parcels are valued at $22 million. The lands should never have been sold in the first place, but now that it's happened, we're not going to allow them to be clearcut.

Read more in The Oregonian.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Fossil Fuel Exports -- Take Action

DugongEager to become the newest energy powerhouse, Australia is about to sacrifice one of the world's most precious ecological jewels -- the stunning Great Barrier Reef -- to last century's dirty fossil fuels. Australia has already approved four gas export terminals inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, a region off the country's northeast coast that's home to more than 400 corals, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 kinds of mollusks.

In 2012 the Center sued to stop the United States from funding two of the gas terminals, and UNESCO is now vowing to list the World Heritage Area as "in danger" because of Australia's relentless development.

An expansion of the country's Abbot Point coal port is also of major concern. It would dredge and dump 3 million cubic meters of material in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, muddying the famously clear waters and burying habitat. Increased shipping across the reef would harm endangered dugongs, sea turtles and whales. And more coal would mean more devastating greenhouse gases anywhere the stuff is burned.

Act now and tell Australia's environmental minister that coal and coral don't mix; then learn more about the Center's work to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Wild & Weird: Do Gender Stereotypes Create Deadlier Hurricanes?

Hurricane Irene Hurricanes are extremely violent weather events that -- according to an extraordinary new report -- are made even more deadly by sexism. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using archival data, recently discovered that tropical cyclones with female names have historically killed more people than storms with male names.

The naming process occurs before any given storm's formation, and therefore does not reflect a storm's severity; names are simply given to make communication about the storm easier, and alternate between male and female as new storms form. But, as the new study argues, subconscious sexism lurks behind a cyclone's nom de guerre. Relying on social biases fixed to gender, some prospective storm victims may be subconsciously perceiving that hurricanes bestowed with female names will be weaker -- and therefore taking fewer precautions. "Changing a severe hurricane's name from Charley to Eloise could nearly triple its death toll," says the study.

To uncover how sexism influences human behavior toward storms, the team of behavioral scientists provided nearly 1,000 test subjects with a list of hurricane names and asked them to guess the storms' severity. A majority concluded that the male storms would be more intense. They were then asked to read several scenarios with more details about an incoming storm. Though the descriptions described nearly identical storm situations, the subjects were more likely to say they would evacuate their homes for Hurricane Christopher than for Hurricane Christina.

Get more on the study from the Associated Press.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: OR-7's wolf pups courtesy USFWS; OR-7 courtesy USFWS; polar bears courtesy Flickr/Martha de Jong-Lantink; coal power plant courtesy Flickr/davipt; wolves by John Pitcher; Keystone XL protest courtesy Flickr/Josh Lopez,; California condor courtesy Flickr/ZakVTA; Webber's ivesia by Sarah Kulpa, USFWS; elephant courtesy Flickr/Matt Rudge; marbled murrelet courtesy Flickr/Andrew Reding; dugong courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Julien Willem; Hurricane Irene courtesy Flickr/NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center.

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Center for Biological Diversity

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