Bookmark and Share
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 778, June 11, 2015

Donate Now Take Action Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Share

Center Pushes to Expand Protections for African Elephants

African savannah elephantsWith habitat destruction and poaching continuing to decimate elephant populations in Africa, the Center for Biological Diversity on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify the continent's elephants as two distinct species and to protect both as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act.

African elephants are currently protected as just one species under the Act's less-protective "threatened" status. But genetic research indicates these elephants are actually separate species: forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) and savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana). They split into different species at least 2 million years ago -- at about the same time Asian elephants diverged from mammoths.

"There's now no question that African elephants are two distinct species that should be managed according to their distinct needs," said Tara Easter, a Center scientist. "And with fewer than 100,000 forest elephants and 400,000 savannah elephants left, we've got to give them the stronger protections provided by endangered status -- which will strengthen current ivory regulations -- or we're at serious risk of losing them forever."

Read more in our press release.

Conservatives in Congress Renew Attack on Wolves

Gray wolfUpset that top U.S. scientists and federal judges have consistently found that gray wolves deserve the ongoing protection of the Endangered Species Act, conservatives in the House of Representatives have cooked up a special legislative rider to strip federal protection from wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states.

The rider, attached to legislation to fund the Department of the Interior, is only the latest Tea Party–led push to sidestep the science-based guidelines established by the Act, which has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals it protects.

"The American people know that the gray wolf's recovery is one of the Endangered Species Act's great success stories and they want wolves to remain protected until our top scientists say the job is completed," said the Center's Brett Hartl. "The Obama administration must stand up and oppose this absurd policy rider, which is far out of step with the convictions of the American people and has no place in an appropriations bill."

Read more in the Duluth News Tribune.

Center Op-ed: The Real Story of "World Oceans Day" Lies Below the Surface

JellyfishMonday was World Oceans Day, a time to honor and celebrate the vast saltwater bodies that cover three-quarters of our planet -- and to look below their sparkling surfaces into the depths that harbor our world's diverse, amazing marine species.

World Oceans Day should be a wake-up call to better protect this important ecosystem from threats such as overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change and -- especially now that Shell Oil is again pushing to drill in the Arctic Ocean -- offshore oil drilling and the inevitable oil spilling this brings.

To mark the occasion, Miyoko Sakashita, the Center's Oceans director, wrote an opinion piece that lays it all out, ending with a simple yet powerful message focusing specifically on drilling for oil: "Leave it in the ground," she says. "Fossil fuels hurt our oceans during extraction, transportation, combustion and in collecting our waste. We must stop overexploiting our oceans and bring balance and sanity back to our relationship with the sea and the life it supports."

Read Miyoko's Huffington Post op-ed now.

Become a Monthly Sustainer

Tell Ace and True Value to Stop Selling Bee-killing Pesticides -- Take Action

BumblebeeDid you know that we can thank bee pollinators for one out of every three bites of food we eat?

Unfortunately two top U.S. hardware stores -- Ace and True Value -- are still selling bee-killing insecticides. Mounting evidence shows that a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids ("neonics" for short) are one of the leading causes of devastating bee die-offs ... but neither retailer has taken any real steps to stop selling neonic-treated plants and seeds or pesticide products containing neonics. Ace has said that it's "willing to move away" from selling these chemicals, but unlike other garden stores, such as Lowe's Home Improvement and BJ's Wholesale Club, it hasn't yet committed to any concrete action.

Science shows that even when neonics don't kill bees outright, they can increase their vulnerability to diseases and other stressors. Neonics are systemic insecticides, so all parts of plants treated with them -- including their pollen -- become toxic to our pollinators.

Take action with us to tell Ace and True Value to remove all products with neonicotinoids from their shelves now.

Lawsuit Prompts Disclosure of Extent of Offshore Fracking in Gulf of Mexico

Offshore fracking illustrationEven after the BP Deepwater Horizon blowup that dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government refused to voluntarily reveal the extent of offshore fracking in the area.

But thanks to a Center lawsuit that prompted a legal settlement filed last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are now required to disclose permits, reports, emails and other documents related to the federal government's approval for oil and gas companies to frack offshore wells in the Gulf.

"Offshore fracking has been shrouded in secrecy, but this settlement will finally force the government to tell us where oil companies are using this toxic technique," said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney. "Fracking pollution from chemicals and wastewater dumped directly into the waters of the Gulf is a huge threat to marine animals. This inherently dangerous activity just doesn't belong in the Gulf of Mexico."

Read more at DeSmogBlog.

Crash of Alexander Archipelago Wolf Population Shows Need for Protection

Alexander Archipelago wolfAs the Fish and Wildlife Service works toward determining whether to protect Alaska's highly imperiled Alexander Archipelago wolf under the Endangered Species Act, a new report has come out estimating that in just a year's time, the wolf's population on Prince of Wales Island has declined by 60 percent -- from 220 to only 89 individuals.

The U.S. Forest Service report bolsters arguments made in a lawsuit filed by the Center and Greenpeace calling for the Forest Service to reconsider its plan to log more of the wolf's remaining old-growth habitat in the Tongass National Forest on Prince of Wales Island.

In response to a 2011 petition by the Center and Greenpeace, last year the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that Endangered Species Act protection "may be warranted" for this small, dark, densely furred wolf.

"The alarming decline of Alexander Archipelago wolves only confirms what we already know -- that we must save these beautiful wolves before it's too late," said the Center's Rebecca Noblin.

Read more in Yahoo! News.

Take Action

Uranium Mining Continues to Haunt Grand Canyon -- Take Action

Colorado River, Grand CanyonUranium mining is a dirty business that threatens communities, drinking water and wildlife anywhere it's done. And within the precious Grand Canyon watershed, lax rules on old mines risk contaminating the seeps and springs of one of America's greatest national treasures, while permanently marring sites sacred to local tribes.

In 2012, due to the Center's work with allies, the Department of the Interior issued a 20-year ban on all new uranium mining claims on more than a million acres surrounding Grand Canyon. But existing mines and some old claims were exempt from this "withdrawal." As a result, later this month a uranium mine within the canyon's watershed is scheduled to creep back from the dead and resume its operations.

Act now to sign our petition urging the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to start a new rulemaking to update regulations for all uranium mines on public lands and protect the Grand Canyon and Colorado River from radiological contamination.

Wild & Weird: Fake Orca Fails to Induce Fear

Fake orcaIt was an idea almost perfect in its bizzaro audacity: Borrow a 32-foot plastic hollow-bodied replica of a killer whale (formerly used by a cruise line in parades to drum up sales), set it afloat in the Columbia River with captain inside, and scare off some "nuisance" sea lions crowding out docks frequented by people and their boats in the Oregon city of Astoria.

But on its maiden voyage, the former advertising prop (essentially now a boat, dubbed Fake Willy) proved to be less than sea-worthy. First its engines wouldn't start; then one night as the vessel approached the wary sea lions -- the "whale" was suddenly capsized by a wave. Rescue boats aided the sinking plastic creature and pulled its captain to safety.

Read more and see photos and a video of the orca and her captain at The Huffington Post.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

View this message in your browser and share it on social media.

Photo credits: African savannah elephants courtesy Flickr/Kimberly Brown-Azzarello; gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Spirit Fire; jellyfish courtesy Flickr/Kostas Krev; wolves by John Pitcher; bumblebee courtesy Flickr/Tiago Cabral; offshore fracking illustration by Jared Rodriguez, Truthout; Alexander Archipelago wolf (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Colorado River courtesy Flickr/David Denicolò; fake orca courtesy Flickr/Jason Tester Guerilla Future.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends out newsletters and action alerts through Click here if you'd like to check your profile and preferences. Let us know if you'd like to stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us.
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702-0710