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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 742, Oct. 2, 2014

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Victory: Federal Protection Returned to Wyoming Wolves

Gray wolf pupsGray wolves in Wyoming are once again protected by the Endangered Species Act. A federal judge reinstated those protections last week, invalidating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision in 2012 to take federal safeguards away. The ruling, reaffirmed by the same judge earlier this week, halts management of wolves by the state, which has allowed the killing of 223 wolves since federal protection was removed, and turns it back over to the feds.

A coalition including the Center for Biological Diversity had challenged the 2012 federal delisting for Wyoming because the state allowed unlimited wolf killing in an extensive "predator" zone and gave the wolves tragically little protection.

"We're thrilled that protections for Wyoming's fragile population of wolves have been restored," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there's no way protections for these animals should have ever been removed."

The Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove most gray wolves across the country from the endangered species list, a proposal our coalition strongly opposes. A final decision could come later this year.

Read more in USA Today.

Judge Upholds Ban on Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonA federal judge this week upheld a hard-won ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon. The Obama administration issued the 20-year ban in 2012, but the mining industry went to court to get it overturned. The Center, along with tribal and other environmental groups, intervened in the lawsuit and fought to keep the ban in place.

The ban will help ensure that fish, birds, water sources and other wild wonders are protected from industrial-scale uranium mining.

"This decision confirms what the American people already knew -- that protection of this critical watershed from uranium mining is a no-brainer," said the Center's Katie Davis.

You know what else is a no-brainer? Our proposal to create Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, which would permanently ban new uranium mining claims in the region. Join our effort to make that happen.

Without Help, World's Smallest Porpoise Could Disappear by 2018

VaquitaDo you know about the vaquita? It's the world's smallest porpoise (just 5 feet long), and it's in serious trouble. There are only 97 left in the wild, and scientists predict that -- without help -- they could be extinct by 2018.

The problem is that in Mexico's Gulf of California, the vaquita's only home, they're being caught and killed in nets intended to catch another endangered species, a large marine fish called the totoaba or "Mexican seabass."

In order to save both these species, the Center just filed an urgent petition to the Obama administration to impose trade sanctions against Mexico. We're racing the clock to prevent the extinction of two of the most imperiled species on Earth.

Read more in our press release and stay tuned for how you can help.

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Legal Victory Saves Florida Panther, Big Cypress From ORVs

Florida pantherThe Center and allies have reached a key settlement with the National Park Service to reverse the unjustified expansion of destructive off-road vehicle trails in Florida's hauntingly beautiful Big Cypress National Preserve. Our agreement, reached last week, ensures that endangered Florida panthers and other rare and vanishing species aren't harmed by nearly 150 miles of motorized trails that violate the national park's own travel-management plan.

"Our hope is that this agreement has permanently stopped the unchecked expansion of damaging ORVs in Big Cypress Preserve," said Jaclyn Lopez, the Center's Florida Director. "At a minimum, it will halt these damaging activities until the completion of a full assessment of their impacts on Florida panthers and other endangered wildlife, as well as sensitive waterways and the wild character of this irreplaceable natural gem."

Read more in the Sun Sentinel.

Love Public Lands? Join the Center's #OurLands Campaign

Canyonlands, UtahPublic lands make up more than a quarter of America's landmass -- forests, rivers, deserts and grasslands that belong to the people, not corporations -- and whose wellbeing we entrust to our federal agencies.

These lands give us beauty, solitude and adventure. They also clean our air, form our rivers' headwaters and cradle a vast network of wildlife and ecosystems.

But the mining, logging, livestock and fossil fuel industries treat our public lands like their commodities, causing irreparable damage.

So the Center is asking you to join us in a new social media campaign, called #OurLands, to build support for a better vision for our public lands -- with the help of your camera. We need you to visit your parks, forests and monuments and share photos of the landscapes and species you value, enjoy and work to protect.

Check out the Center's #OurLands Web page to learn more, see examples and get instructions.

World Population Could Reach 12 Billion by 2100 -- Take Action

San Joaquin kit foxA new paper in Science projects the world population could reach 12 billion by 2100 -- and then keep right on growing instead of leveling off as was earlier predicted.

The world population has doubled since 1970 and today tops 7 billion, growing by 227,000 people daily. The toll on wildlife is staggering: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate.

"The unsustainable growth of the human population is a key driver of many of the world's environmental problems, including global warming and the loss of wildlife around the globe," said the Center's Stephanie Feldstein. "We can't continue on this same path and still hope to have a planet that's ultimately livable for people and wildlife."

Read more in our press release. And if you want to help us combat unsustainable population growth, sign up before 12 p.m. PDT tomorrow to distribute our Endangered Species Condoms for Halloween.

Take Action

Report: 10 U.S. Species Our Children May Never See

Polar bearsCan you imagine a world without polar bears, monarchs and little brown bats?

According to a new report called Vanishing -- released by the Endangered Species Coalition, including the Center -- these are just three of 10 species plummeting toward extinction so fast that they could be nothing but stories by the time our younger generation might have the chance to see them anywhere but a zoo.

Other species in the report are the whitebark pine, mountain yellow-legged frog, North Pacific right whale, great white shark, rusty patched bumble bee, greater sage grouse and Snake River sockeye salmon.

Learn more about these species and their future in our press releases.

Don't Let Ranchers Run Elk off Public Lands -- Take Action

Tule elkNative tule elk were reintroduced to Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, Calif., in 1978, and a free-ranging elk herd was re-established there in 1998. Point Reyes is the only national park that tule elk -- an elk subspecies found only in California -- call home. But cattle ranchers who enjoy cheap grazing leases within the park and certain California politicians are demanding that the National Park Service remove the free-ranging elk or build a damaging fence to keep elk out of ranching areas.

Tule elk were thought to be extinct by the end of the Gold Rush due to poaching and habitat loss, but in 1895 a single remaining herd with just 28 elk was discovered. From that precipice, tule elk have rebounded to about 3,900 elk in 22 herds across California. Research shows these elk are critical to the health and diversity of native grasslands species.

Act now to tell the Park Service and politicians that ranchers with public-lands grazing permits should not get to run elk -- or any other wildlife -- off our parklands.

Wild & Weird: A Mysterious, Butterfly-shaped Cloud

Monarch butterfliesNational Weather Service meteorologists in St. Louis were taken aback last week when they caught sight, on radar, of an enormous, butterfly-shaped formation fluttering across southern Illinois and central Missouri. Was it another mating-mayfly invasion? Mothra?

"High differential reflectivity values as well as low correlation coefficient values indicate these are most likely biological targets..." the Service reported. "We think these targets are monarch butterflies. A monarch in flight would look oblate to the radar, and flapping wings would account for the changing shape! NWS St. Louis wishes good luck and a safe journey to these amazing little creatures on their long journey south!"

See the radar images of the butterfly-shaped butterfly swarm at City Lab; then read about the Center's new petition to protect monarchs. Please also take action to help save these animals, which have suffered a 90 percent decline in their population.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Gray wolf pups by Hilary Cooley, USFWS; Grand Canyon courtesy Flickr/Al Hike'sAZ; vaquita by Paula Olson, NOAA; wolves by John Pitcher; Florida panther courtesy Flickr/Tambako the Jaguar; Canyonlands, Utah courtesy Flickr/jBrew; San Joaquin kit fox (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; polar bears courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Steve Amstrup, USFWS; tule elk courtesy Flickr/Matt Knoth; monarch butterflies courtesy Flickr/Tarnya Hall.

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