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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 813, Feb. 11, 2016

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Idaho Cranks Up Wolf-killing With Aerial Gunners

WolfTroubling news out of Idaho this week: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services is planning to send gunners in helicopters to start shooting wolves in the Lolo Elk Management Zone of the Clearwater National Forest.

The renewed wolf slaughter comes on the heels of a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies that questions the accuracy of wolf population estimates by state officials and asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep monitoring wolf numbers in Idaho and Montana for another five years. The Service has yet to respond to our petition, which was spurred, in part, by a recent study published in the journal Science that also questions those numbers. The Idaho Legislature has also requested another $400,000 to kill wolves in the coming fiscal year.

"It is these aggressive tactics that caused us to file a petition to Fish and Wildlife Service to continue federal monitoring of wolves in the first place," said the Center's Andrea Santarsiere. "Idaho is making it clear that it has no intention to curb its attempts to decimate Idaho's wolf population."

Read more in our press release.

Millions Have Seen 'El Jefe,' the Only Known Jaguar in the U.S.

Nightly News with Lester HoltEl Jefe is a bona fide superstar. Last week the Center and our partners at Conservation CATalyst released video footage of the only known wild jaguar living in the United States. The video showed up on more than 800 TV stations and in outlets around the country, including USA TODAY, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Time, Buzzfeed, Slate, the BBC, Wall Street Journal -- the list goes on and on. By our back-of-the-envelope calculations, El Jefe has been seen by more than 20 million people on TV alone.

The Center played a critical role in securing more than 750,000 acres of critical habitat for jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico in 2014. And we're continuing to fight one of the biggest threats to El Jefe and any other jaguars that may wander north from Mexico: Rosemont's open-pit copper mine, planned for the heart of this habitat.

Check out the El Jefe media frenzy and read more about the Center's work to save American jaguars.

Cliven Bundy Finally Arrested, Last 4 Militants Leave Malheur Compound

Cliven BundyNevada rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested Wednesday night in Portland, Ore., and this morning the final four militants walked away from the public building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, at last ending the standoff that started Jan. 2.

"We're glad to finally see Cliven Bundy arrested and hopefully now brought to justice," said the Center's Kierán Suckling, who spent several weeks at the Burns standoff. "Not only does he owe the American taxpayers more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees, but he's been a driving force behind the violent, racist militia movement that tried to take over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and is now trying to export this same brand of armed theft of public lands elsewhere in the American West."

Learn more about our work to protect public lands.

New Global Airplane Carbon-pollution Rules Too Weak to Protect Climate

AirplaneThe first international standards for carbon pollution from airplanes were recommended Monday in Montreal by the International Civil Aviation Organization -- a necessary step toward controlling those harmful emissions, but too weak to protect the climate. The proposed rules would barely trim carbon emissions from new planes and would not apply to aircraft already in service, which have operational lifetimes of 25 to 30 years.

Globally airplanes could generate 43 gigatonnes of planet-warming pollution by 2050, consuming almost 5 percent of the world's remaining carbon budget, according to a recent Center report.

The Center and allies petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 to regulate carbon emissions from aircraft under the federal Clean Air Act. Following a lawsuit the agency finally proposed last summer to determine that U.S. aviation emissions endanger human health and welfare; that proposal has yet to be finalized.

"These disturbingly weak recommendations put the Obama administration under enormous pressure to fight airplane pollution," said Vera Pardee, a Center attorney. "If we don't cut airplanes' fast-growing emissions, it will be much more difficult for the world to avoid catastrophic warming."

Read more in The New York Times.

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Pacific Fishers Released Into Wild, Caught on Tape -- Watch Video

FisherThis past weekend six captive-bred fishers were released into the wild in Washington's Cascades -- and the Center was there to help, watch and record the show.

Fishers are rare, plush-furred members of the weasel family that in the Pacific Northwest and California depend on old-growth forests for their survival. They're shy, elusive creatures -- but also ferocious, the only animals tough and clever enough to prey regularly on porcupines. Unfortunately, due to historical trapping and extensive logging and development, they're now in danger of extinction.

The Center has been working to save these creatures since 2000, when we and allies petitioned to protect Pacific fishers under the Endangered Species Act. Thanks to lots more work (including a lawsuit), these fishers have been proposed for safeguards. Now, to help them repopulate their old habitat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mount Rainier National Park and Conservation Northwest are releasing them into the wild. So far this winter more than 20 fishers have been set free.

Watch (and share!) our video of four fishers' first leaps out of captivity and onto the path toward recovery. Then learn more about saving fishers.

Study: Oil Industry Injections Caused California Earthquake Swarm

Earthquake damageA new scientific study underscores the risks of extreme oil production in seismic areas, showing that oil-industry wastewater injections are the culprit in a series of earthquakes in Southern California.

The research, published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, is the first to link a sudden surge in wastewater injection and a series of quakes in 2005 near Bakersfield, Calif., that ranged up to magnitude 4.7.

"This study should push state officials to act immediately to protect Californians from oil industry-induced earthquakes," said Center scientist Shaye Wolf, who coauthored a 2014 report, On Shaky Ground, finding that most of the oil industry's wastewater injection wells are near active earthquake faults in California. "The more oil companies frack and drill, the more wastewater they inject into disposal wells near active faults. That's an absolutely unacceptable risk in our earthquake-prone state."

Read an abstract of the study and learn more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Suit Challenges EPA's Failure to Release Public Records on Toxic Herbicide

Monarch butterflyThe Center recently sued the EPA for not releasing public records about its approval of Enlist Duo, a pesticide blend that's highly toxic to a wide spectrum of both terrestrial and aquatic species and has significant effects on human health.

Enlist Duo is a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D created by Dow AgroSciences for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, designed to withstand being drenched with the potent herbicide cocktail. But the EPA registered Enlist Duo for use in 15 states, claiming it would have "no effect" on at-risk species.

The Center first sent the EPA a Freedom of Information Act request two years ago seeking information on the agency's decision to approve this dangerous pesticide for use. We still haven't gotten a response -- so we filed suit last Wednesday.

"The EPA needs to be fully transparent about how and why it approves these toxic herbicides," said the Center's Lori Ann Burd. "They pose a serious threat to people and wildlife."

Read more in our press release.

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More Than 2 Million Signatures: Halt New Offshore Drilling

Oil rigsMore than 2 million signatures were delivered to the White House last week with an unmistakable message to the Obama administration to limit offshore oil and gas leasing. Amassed by an army of organizations including the Center, the petitions call on President Obama to stop new oil leases in the Arctic, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The administration is preparing to release an updated five-year plan for offshore drilling in the three regions.

Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous business that threatens our coastal communities, wildlife and the health of our oceans and climate. We'll continue to fight relentlessly in the courtroom, in Congress and in the streets to protect all these things from dangerous drilling. Many of those who signed the petition were from communities on the front lines of offshore drilling. We're grateful to all of you for joining us in this fight.

Learn more about our campaign to halt offshore drilling.

Get Free 'Love Calls of the Wild' Ringtones for Valentine's Day -- Watch Video

Rockhopper penguinsWhat better way to declare your love for the wild than to fill the air with soulful, funny or fierce animal calls whenever your cell phone rings?

This Valentine's Day the Center is offering 25 specially selected, free ringtones that include wildlife mating calls and social calls -- hoots, chirps, growls and trills from animals across the planet. These ringtones have been selected from our year-round collection of high-quality, authentic sounds and images (we also offer phone wallpaper) of some of the world's rarest and most endangered species.

Love Calls of the Wild includes sounds from orcas, polar bears, pikas, spotted owls, whooping cranes, penguins, toads and prairie dogs -- such a wide variety that you can pick exactly the mating calls you're in the mood for this Valentine's Day.

Check out our free Valentine ringtones and then watch our video "How Do Endangered Species Say 'I Love You?' "

Wild & Weird: The Eerie World of Carbon-capturing Plant Pores

Tomato leaf stomateIf you're breathing right now, you might consider taking a moment to thank stomata, the tiny plant pores that absorb carbon dioxide and push out oxygen. Stomata are all around you -- on the leaves of trees (and bushes and flowers and houseplants) all over the world -- you just can't see them with your naked eye.

But if you have a heart condition or take fright easily, you may not want to see stomata, at least not through an electron microscope. Plant cells, as depicted by photographer and environmentalist Robert Dash in his new series Show Me the Carbon, appear to inhabit a wondrous but grotesque world of mouths and horns and alien landscapes.

Take a peek into the bizarre world of plant pores at The Week.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: Wolf courtesy Flickr/Chris Smith; Nightly News with Lester Holt via NBC; Cliven Bundy courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore; airplane courtesy Flickr/Richy Schley; wolves by John Pitcher; fisher courtesy Flickr/Bethany Weeks; earthquake damage courtesy Flickr/Richard Walker; monarch butterfly courtesy Flickr/Jason Skinner; brown bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; oil rigs (c) Drew Bird photography; rockhopper penguins courtesy Flickr/Pablo Fernicola; tomato leaf stomate courtesy Dartmouth College.

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Center for Biological Diversity
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