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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 754, Dec. 24, 2014

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Court Returns Federal Protection to Great Lakes Wolves

Wisconsin gray wolfIn a major victory for wolf recovery, a federal judge on Friday restored Endangered Species Act protections to thousands of wolves in the upper Midwest, including those in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The decision resulted from a case brought by the Humane Society of the United States and allies -- our hats are off to them for this important win.

In the ruling U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to end protections for wolves in six states around the Great Lakes in December 2011. More than 1,000 wolves have been killed in the region since protections were lifted. But Great Lakes wolves are now back on the endangered species list and will be managed by the feds, not state wildlife agencies.

The court ruling comes at a key moment as the Obama administration prepares to end protection for nearly all wolves in the continental United States -- essentially abandoning four decades of wolf-recovery efforts.

We're happy to see Great Lakes wolves again getting the protection they need and deserve.

Read more in the Star Tribune.

No. 1 With a Bullet: New Mexico Urged to Halt Wildlife-killing Contests

CoyoteNew Mexico holds more wildlife-killing contests each year than any other state. That's why the Center for Biological Diversity and nine other conservation groups just called on the governor and legislature to ban these cruel contests that target coyotes, bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs and other animals.

At least 17 wildlife-killing contests were held in New Mexico between August 2013 and July 2014, including three that targeted coyotes earlier this month.

The Center helped halt a similar contest on Bureau of Land Management land in Idaho this fall and helped win a ban on certain types of contests in California. It's time to do the same in New Mexico.

"Being 'number one' in wildlife-killing sprees is hardly what the Land of Enchantment wants to broadcast to the rest of America," said the Center's Michael Robinson. "And frankly, it's more than a little sickening and shameful for those of us who live here to know that the wildlife we cherish may be shot and killed for a score."

Read more in our press release.

Center Joins Teen, Independent Scientists to Save Vanishing Lizard

Texas horned lizardFifteen-year-old Kade Wilson recently learned that a shopping center was planned for a field behind his Oklahoma home where he liked to watch Texas horned lizards (casually known as "horny toads"). With the lizards already listed as "threatened" under the Texas Endangered Species Act -- and laws against killing them in both Texas and Oklahoma -- Kade knew the shopping center meant trouble for the reptiles.

So he joined a petition by the Center and two independent scientists, filed last Friday, to protect Texas horned lizards under Oklahoma's state Endangered Species Act. The lizard may be formidable looking, with numerous horns on its head -- but this once-common creature has now nearly disappeared due to habitat destruction, pesticides and introduced fire ants.

"I'm a 15-year-old and I might not be a scientist or a biologist," said Kade, "but I know that these horny toads are just trying to share the Earth with us, and we're taking it away from them."

Read more in The Oklahoman and check out the Center's new Activist Spotlight profile of Kade Wilson, one of our passionate Generation Wild supporters.

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New Rules Proposed to Better Protect Florida Manatees -- Take Action

Florida manatee in Kings BayThere's a good chance that Florida's cold-stressed manatees may at last get some reprieve from increasingly hectic winters in their supposed havens. Following a flood of letters from the Center and allies demanding an end to the hullabaloo caused by tourists eager to touch and swim with these endangered marine mammals, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to revise its wildlife-viewing rules at Three Sisters Springs in Kings Bay.

The current draft rule proposes to ban kayaks -- a move in the right direction -- but still does little to address the swarm of people in the water. It's well past time for this disruption to stop, especially with so many out-of-water viewing spots just feet away.

Act now to urge the Service to make this area a true winter refuge by designating Nov. 15 to March 31 a time each year when people can only view manatees from the nearby boardwalk. Comments are due by Jan. 2, 2015.

Endangered Species Condoms in the Classroom -- Watch Winning Videos

Loggerhead sea turtleBiology instructor Mary Poffenroth decided to shake up the conversation about conservation at San José State University: She handed out the Center's Endangered Species Condoms and challenged her students to create a short video about the impact of human population growth and overconsumption on wildlife.

More than 70 students took the challenge, and our panel of judges was blown away by their creativity and unique perspectives on how condoms fit into their lives as part of caring for themselves and the planet.

Best Overall Video went to Julie and Kai (JK Studios) for their amazing animated short that takes you from the bedroom to sea turtle nesting beaches. Check out the winning video and our other top picks, including Most Humorous.

Inspired to create your own short video? Please send it to us. Are you an educator interested in incorporating Endangered Species Condoms into your classroom? Please contact Population and Sustainability Organizer Taralynn Reynolds.

New Congress Wants to Ram Through Keystone XL -- Take Action

Canadian oil pipelineIncoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that one of his top priorities for the new Congress will be approving the Keystone XL pipeline. We helped narrowly defeat the bill this fall, but Big Oil and its cronies in Washington aren't giving up -- even though this pipeline puts wildlife, people and our climate directly in harm's way.

The best chance we have may be President Obama. We need him to stand with us and veto any legislation that rams through this dangerous project. We'll be watching what happens in Congress, but know this: When the moment comes, the Center will be calling on you to help stop this pipeline in its tracks. Stay tuned.

Learn more about Keystone XL and then tell President Obama to reject this dangerous pipeline.

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The Population Crisis' Silver Bullet

View of North America at nightHitting newsstands this week is an issue of Newsweek highlighting seven global problems that need silver-bullet solutions. Topping the list is the 7 billion -- and counting -- of us humans crowding the planet. The good news is that the solution already exists: Give women full reproductive rights and it benefits families, communities, wildlife and the environment.

More than 222 million women worldwide who want access to modern contraception are unable to get it. That's a significant number of women who lack basic reproductive rights and healthcare. As Newsweek points out, it's also a significant number in its relation to climate change: "If all women globally had access to the contraceptives they want, the reduction in unwanted pregnancies would translate into an 8 to 15 percent reduction in global carbon emissions."

The cost of meeting that need for contraception? Less than 1.5 percent of what Americans will spend to celebrate the holidays this year. It's not just a silver bullet, but a no-brainer.

Read the Newsweek article and learn more about what our growing population means for wildlife.

Teen Supporter Interviews Center Scientist

Conor RyanFollowing the launch of the Center's new youth website, Generation Wild, one of our most active young supporters has released an interview with our Staff Scientist Tara Easter on his own website, Interviewtion ("an interview blog meant to pick the brains of the most interesting people around").

Conor Ryan, now 17, first became interested in the Center back in 2009 when his sixth-grade science teacher told his class about our petition for the Amargosa toad. In 2010–2011, he hosted two rock-concert fundraisers at his school, raising more than $2,000 for the Center -- and we've been in touch ever since.

Says Conor: "As somebody fascinated with environmental science, it was a wonderful opportunity to get to interview Tara Easter. I think it's especially encouraging to know that the Center hires such passionate and driven people as Tara to help champion environmental causes for years to come."

Passionate also describes Conor, whom we heartily thank for helping lead a new generation ardent about the Earth. We can't wait to see what he and his peers do next.

Read Conor's Interviewtion interview and his 2010 Activist Spotlight profile; then check out our Generation Wild website.

Wild & Weird: English Translations of Monkey Dialects

Campbell's monkeyFor decades primatologists and linguists have attempted to crack the code behind the vocabulary of the Campbell's monkey -- a species that communicates with a particularly advanced language -- by indexing a vast lexicon of vocalizations with English translations. And then came krak.

It's a term used by two separate populations of Campbell's monkeys, one living on Sierra Leone's Tiwai Island, the other in the Tai Forest of the Ivory Coast. According to research conducted in 2009, it seems to have two distinct meanings: Tai Forest monkeys use krak to indicate there's a leopard nearby and hok to indicate an eagle. On Tiwai Island the term krak appears to be more of a general warning call, including a warning of the presence of eagles.

According to a recent paper published in the journal Linguistics and Philosophy, a team of scientists believes it has now cracked the code of krak, arguing that monkey dialects may be as complicated as human language.

Read more in Scientific American.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: Gray wolf by Michele Woodford, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; coyote courtesy Flickr/Stephen Thompson; Texas horned lizard courtesy Flickr/Tom Barnwell; wolves by John Pitcher; manatee courtesy Flickr/Bill Serne; JK Studios screengrab of loggerhead turtle; Canadian oil pipeline courtesy Flickr/rblood; elephant courtesy Flickr/Matt Rudge; North America courtesy NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center; Conor Ryan; Campbell's monkey courtesy Flickr/Terrie Schweitzer.

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Center for Biological Diversity
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