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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 747, Nov. 6, 2014

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Center Report: 350,000 Square Miles of Potential Wolf Habitat

Gray wolvesIt's time to think bigger about wolf recovery.

A first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity identifies 359,000 square miles of additional habitat for gray wolves in the lower 48 states that could significantly boost the nation's 40-year wolf recovery efforts. Habitat including areas in the southern Rocky Mountains, on the West Coast and in the Northeast could double the wolf population to about 10,000.

Monday's report follows the incredible news last week that a gray wolf, likely a wanderer from the northern Rockies, has been spotted on the Grand Canyon's North Rim; it also comes as the Obama administration moves to strip Endangered Species Act protection from wolves by the end of the year.

"There's still so much more room for wolves in the lower 48 states," said the Center's Amaroq Weiss. "Rather than pulling the plug on wolf recovery before the job is done, we ought to be looking at ways to bring these animals back."

Learn more about our report and check out a map of potential wolf habitat in 19 states.

Rubber Dodo Award Goes to ... USDA's Wildlife Services

2014 Rubber Dodo AwardWildlife Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's notorious animal-killing program, is the lucky recipient of the Center's 2014 Rubber Dodo Award, given each year to a notable eco-villain. The program killed more than 2 million native animals in 2013, including 320 gray wolves, 75,000 coyotes and 419 black bears.

"No other government program does more every day to annihilate America's wildlife than Wildlife Services," said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director. "This rogue program does much of its dirty work far from the public's view, so millions of animals disappear from our landscapes every year with little accountability."

Most of Wildlife Services' killing is done on behalf of the livestock and agriculture industries, along with other powerful interests. Its methods are gruesome, including aerial gunning, traps and exploding cyanide caps. Pets and sometimes people have also been inadvertently harmed.

Thanks to all 12,500 of you who voted. Read more in our press release and get details on our campaign against Wildlife Services.

Voters Reject Fracking in Parts of California, Texas, Ohio

Fracking rigVoters in California's San Benito County approved a ballot measure Tuesday to ban fracking and other extreme oil-extraction techniques. The win comes despite a massive ad campaign funded by the oil industry in which millions of dollars were spent in California and elsewhere to combat a surge in opposition to fracking. Anti-fracking measures also passed in California's Mendocino County, as well as in Denton, Texas, and Athens, Ohio.

There's been growing concern in California and beyond about how fracking threatens air, water and wildlife.

"The public tide is turning against fracking, not just in California but around the country," said the Center's Hollin Kretzmann. "As voters from San Benito to Denton, Texas, showed, if regulators won't protect them from fracking pollution, local communities can and will use the ballot box to protect themselves."

Learn more about our work to fight fracking.

Feds OK Trapping Plan in Maine That Could Harm, Kill Lynx

Canada lynxThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday OK'd a permit allowing trappers and state agents in Maine to hurt or kill federally protected Canada lynx during the trapping season and as part of state-run predator-control programs. The approval comes less than a month into Maine's 2014 season; already 13 lynx have been reported captured (all were released alive, though two required veterinary treatment for injured paws).

Tuesday's decision is a troubling development for these secretive, forest-dwelling cats. Lynx have been protected as a threatened species since 2000, and several hundred are believed to live in northern Maine.

"Maine's trapping plan simply doesn't do enough to ensure that threatened Canada lynx are not harmed or killed," said the Center's Mollie Matteson. "It's definitely a setback for recovery of these beautiful cats."

Read more in our press release.

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This One's for the Dudes: Vasectomies to Save Wildlife

World Vasectomy DayGuys, if you've been waiting to hear how you can help curb the growth of the human species, you need wait no longer: Tomorrow is World Vasectomy Day.

Yep -- in about 30 minutes, you can do your part to help ensure that the human population doesn't hit 12 billion by century's end, crowding out wildlife and worsening the climate crisis.

World Vasectomy Day was founded in 2013 by award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Stack and urologist Dr. Doug Stein to raise awareness about vasectomies, increase access to the procedure, and inspire more men to become engaged as equal partners with women in the family planning discussion. This year more than 200 doctors in 25 countries will perform more than 1,000 vasectomies within 24 hours.

Get details at the Center's World Vasectomy Day webpage and learn how to access a doctor in your area by visiting the official website. Then join the movement by sharing our flyer and memes and connecting with us on social media @humpsmarter and @thevasectomist with the hashtags #WVD2014 and #CrowdedPlanet.

Wolves Victorious in Michigan Election -- Thank You

Gray wolfFollowing a Center action alert this week, our Michigan supporters showed up in force at the polls to support the state's wolves -- helping tip the scales on Election Day against two dangerous anti-wolf measures. Michigan voters roundly rejected Proposals 1 and 2, which would've removed wolves from the state endangered list and allowed the Natural Resources Commission to decide whether wolves should be hunted as game. These measures would've been disastrous for these wolves, which already lost their federal Endangered Species Act protections before their population was stable enough to withstand hunting pressure.

A third anti-wolf measure is already set to take effect in spring -- but the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected plans to challenge that law as unconstitutional. Meanwhile the Center and allies have litigation pending to restore federal protection to all Great Lakes wolves.

Thank you to all who helped defeat the two proposals.

Get more from MLive Media Group.

Center Wins CREDO Grant to Help Predators -- Thank You

Grizzly bearsThe Center has won an $85,000 grant from the progressive social action network CREDO as part of its CREDOACTION campaign. Thanks to the thousands of you who voted for the Center in recent weeks.

The grant will go into our Predator Defense Fund, which we'll use to protect wolves, grizzlies and other predators from hunting, trapping and losing their much-needed protection.

The Center was nominated by CREDO customers and chosen among hundreds of nonprofits as one of three groups eligible for the grant funds. We're grateful for this boost for our predator work and especially proud that so many of you voted for us.

Learn more about our work to save wolves and other predators.

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Study: Deadly Fungus Could Snuff Out Salamanders

Fire salamanderA new study in Science documents a terrifying threat to salamanders across the globe: a lethal, skin-eating fungus related to the killer chytrid fungus that has devastated frog populations.

The fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, is sweeping through salamander populations in Europe -- practically wiping out the Netherlands' fire salamanders, for example. Imports of infected animals from Europe (which are already extensive) could spell disaster for our own nearly 200 U.S. native salamanders. The fungus kills these delicate creatures by eroding their skin and exposing them to fatal bacterial infections, and it's especially deadly for newts, several species of which live in the United States. One of those, the striped newt of Florida and Georgia, is already a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection.

Once this gruesome fungus enters wild populations, it'll be nearly impossible to stop the spread. The Center and other groups are calling for the Fish and Wildlife Service to suspend all salamander imports into the United States unless they're certifiably fungus-free.

Read more and watch videos at the Christian Science Monitor.

Give More Greenly With Our Giving Guide

Green tree frogThe next couple of months will be full of commercials and junk mail about holiday shopping and what everyone's buying. Last Black Friday alone, U.S. consumers spent tens of millions of dollars buying new products to kick off the shopping season. Imagine the massive carbon cost to the planet from producing, shipping, advertising, distributing and consuming those products -- it's not pretty.

That's why the Center has created the 2014 Greener Giving Guide, a resource on how to give more greenly this holiday season, including tips for nonmaterial gifts (like a Center membership) and other ways to help save wildlife as you make your holiday-giving selections.

Check out our Greener Giving Guide now.

Wild & Weird: Fanged Deer and City Frogs

Kashmir musk deerA deer with alarming vampire-like fangs has recently been spotted lurking on a rock outcropping in the upper fringes of a remote forest in northeast Afghanistan. And no, the sighting wasn't reported by crypto-zoologist blogger BigFootNessie182.

Late last month, just in time for Halloween, the Wildlife Conservation Society confirmed in the conservation journal Oryx that the Kashmir musk deer -- which no one had reported seeing in more than 60 years -- in fact still persists in the wild. The bucks of this species have fangs that are not, apparently, devoted to the purpose of vicious exsanguination but instead used to impress does.

Meanwhile a new species of frog has been discovered in -- no, not an uncharted corner of an unnamed archipelago -- New York City. Rana kauffeldi, or the Atlantic Coast leopard frog, as some are calling it, had escaped the scrutiny of Western science whilst living in the open on Staten Island for hundreds of years.

Read more about the rediscovered fanged deer in The Washington Post and find out more about the frog species discovered in the Big Apple in the Los Angeles Times.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: Gray wolves courtesy Flickr/Herbert Lange; 2014 Rubber Dodo Award; fracking rig courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Meredithw; Canada lynx courtesy Flickr/Rusty Ray; wolves by John Pitcher; graphic courtesy; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Angell Williams; grizzly bears courtesy Wikimedia Commons/John Good, NPS; elephant courtesy Flickr/Matt Rudge; fire salamander courtesy Flickr/Mircea Nita; green tree frog courtesy Flickr/rainforest_harley; Kashmir musk deer (c) Julie Larsen Maher, World Conservation Society.

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