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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 746, Oct. 30, 2014

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For the First Time in 7 Decades, a Wolf at Grand Canyon

Gray wolf Incredible news today: For the first time in 70 years a wolf has been spotted at the Grand Canyon. The wolf, wearing an inactive radio collar, looks identical to gray wolves in Yellowstone and other areas of the northern Rockies.

The wolf arrives just as the Obama administration gears up to strip Endangered Species Act protection from most wolves in the lower 48 states. If that happens as expected later this year, the Grand Canyon wolf (protected for now) will be far more likely to be shot on sight.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that a wolf has managed to travel so far to claim the Grand Canyon once again as a home for wolves," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Michael Robinson. "This wolf's journey starkly highlights the fact that wolf recovery is still in its infancy and that these important and magnificent animals continue to need Endangered Species Act protections."

Get more from Reuters and then donate today to our Predator Defense Fund.

Appalachian Hellbenders in Danger -- Watch Video

HellbendersEver seen a "snot otter" wrestle underwater? Well, here's your chance. Along with the U.S. Forest Service, Freshwaters Illustrated has released a stunning new video called The Last Dragons featuring eastern hellbenders -- North America's largest amphibian and perhaps its fiercest too. These ancient, two-foot-long salamanders may spend most of their lives under rocks in Appalachian streams, but once they emerge from hiding, watch out.

Hellbender numbers have dropped 80 percent to 90 percent, so the Center has been working to protect them and their habitat. Ongoing threats include mountaintop-removal coal mining, fracking, chemical runoff, and siltation that muddies streams and fills in the nooks these hellbenders need for cover and food.

In April 2010 we filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 404 Southeast aquatic species under the Endangered Species Act, including the eastern hellbender; a decision is required by the end of 2018. We won protection for the Ozark hellbender in 2011.

Watch the incredible video and learn more about the Center's work to save hellbenders.

35,000 Endangered Species Condoms to Be Handed Out on Halloween

SpiderAs folks across the country prepare for Halloween, the Center is distributing 35,000 of our famous free Endangered Species Condoms to highlight the scary truth about human population growth and the wildlife extinction crisis. The condoms will be handed out by more than 400 volunteers at Halloween parties, bars, festivals and other events in some of America's spookiest -- and most crowded -- cities.

These condoms are wrapped in colorful packages featuring six different endangered species and information to help start the conversation about the impact of runaway human population growth on imperiled wildlife. The Center has given away more than half a million Endangered Species Condoms since 2009.

This Halloween we're also asking people to share "spooky selfies" through our #FearExtinction social media campaign.

Read more in our press release -- and if you missed it last week, check out the horrors of the meat industry in our Meatstinction video.

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Two Prairie Butterflies Protected

Dakota skipperThe Fish and Wildlife Service last week protected two rare prairie butterflies under the Endangered Species Act: the Dakota skipper (under our 757 species agreement) and the Poweshiek skipperling (because it's highly endangered and shares habitat with the skipper). These inch-long, brown-and-orange butterflies were once found in eight states across the Midwest and Great Lakes, where they depend on tall grass landscapes now mostly disappeared.

Both butterflies are threatened by loss of native prairie vegetation to agriculture, development, altered fire patterns and groundwater depletion -- as well as pesticides, drought and climate change. Last year the Service proposed to protect 39,035 acres of habitat for them, a designation expected to be finalized soon.

"It's great news that these remarkable little butterflies now have the Endangered Species Act protection that will save them and their beautiful prairie homes," said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center.

Read more in Nature World News.

Another Big Win for Florida's Wild -- Thank You

ManateeIt's been a fortunate month for Florida: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied an appeal to allow one of the biggest dredging projects in the Gulf of Mexico in 50 years. Last year the Corps denied a permit for the SunWest development, a destructive project in the Tampa Bay area that would have needlessly harmed four acres of wetlands and 29 acres of important seagrass habitat that's home to fish, shellfish, crustaceans and endangered manatees.

The developers appealed the decision, and the Center and allies fought back, generating nearly 18,000 signatures opposing the permit. We hope last week's denial of that appeal by the Corps means the project is gone for good.

Thank you to all who spoke out for Florida's wild creatures and wild places.

Read more in the Tampa Bay Times.

Vote by Midnight Tonight for 2014's Rubber Dodo

Rubber Dodo AwardDon't delay: We need your help to pick the most flagrant eco-villain of 2014 for the Center's Rubber Dodo Award, started in 2007 to spotlight those powerful people who've worked most rabidly and fervently to destroy wild creatures and wild places. Past Rubber Dodo winners include the infamous Koch brothers (2013), climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (2012), BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010) and polar bear foe Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008).

This year's nominees are the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, which killed more than 2 million native animals in 2013; notorious Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy; herbicide maker Monsanto; and Rep. Doc Hastings, who's been tearing into the Endangered Species Act.

Which of these contenders most deserves this year's glamorous Rubber Dodo title? Cast your vote by midnight tonight.

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Ignoring International Limits, U.S. Expands Fishing for Bigeye Tuna

Bigeye tunaThe National Marine Fisheries Service issued a rule Monday letting Hawaii-based longline fishermen ignore international agreements and continue fishing for bigeye tuna, even after reaching the cap allowed for U.S. fishing vessels. Highly valued for sushi, these fish have been increasingly in demand for the past decade -- and they're currently at their lowest historical levels.

Warm-blooded predators similar to endangered bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna swim in deep waters around Hawaii and across the Pacific Ocean -- where, from 1996 to 2008, the number of brutal longline hooks set in Hawaii fishing grounds increased fourfold. Pacific bigeye are also threatened by climate change, which could warm ocean waters enough to kill them by century's end.

"Bigeye tuna are in serious trouble," said the Center's Catherine Kilduff. "And this rule only makes it worse. Not only will these tuna pay the price, but so will the whales, dolphins and other animals that get caught on their hooks."

Read more in our press release.

Vote for the Center, Help Save Predators -- Last Chance

Vote for Us at CREDOIt's your last chance to take advantage of some great news for wildlife -- especially wildlife high on the food chain. The progressive social action network CREDO decided to make the Center the recipient of its "CREDOACTION" grant, which is distributed monthly to three worthy nonprofits. The money we receive will go toward our Predator Defense Fund to keep wolves from being hunted, trapped and exterminated.

Getting the grant is a given -- but the amount depends on how many votes we get from you. And the deadline is tomorrow at 11:59 p.m.

So please help: If you're a CREDO member (through its banking or phone services) you can vote online, call toll-free (877) 603-6863 to vote using its automated system, or text "VOTE" to 27336 (CREDO will text you instructions). If you're not already a member, you can still vote online -- just set up an account by checking the box to be a CREDO Action member and receive petitions from CREDO at its petition site CREDOACTION. You can also help by sharing this on social media.

Wild & Weird: Kids, Don't Forget to Check Your Nose for Leeches

LeechDuring a routine shower earlier this month, Scotswoman Daniela Liverani noticed a leech peeking out of her nostril. She'd had nasal discomfort since backpacking in Asia, but had chalked it up to blood clots. Here's how she told it to the BBC:

"Obviously my nasal passages would open up because of the steam and the heat and the water, and [the leech] would come out quite far, about as far as my lip. ... It just looked like a blood clot. ... I jumped out the shower and I unsteamed the mirror and I had a proper good look, and I could see little ridges on him."

It took doctors 30 minutes to remove the 3-inch long interloper, which, like all leeches, had mouth-like suckers at both ends of its body. A remarkably cheerful Liverani endearingly named her freeloading companion -- who'd lodged uninvited in her sniffer for about a month -- Mr. Curly.

See photos of the extracted leech and read more at BBC News.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: Gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Chris Smith; hellbenders courtesy Freshwaters Illustrated; spider by Melissa Amarello, Center for Biological Diversity; wolves by John Pitcher; Dakota skipper by Phil Delphey, USFWS; manatee by Tracy Colson, USFWS; rubber dodo award; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; bigeye tuna courtesy NOAA; graphic courtesy CREDO; leech courtesy Flickr/Charles Haynes.

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Center for Biological Diversity
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