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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 826, May 12, 2016

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65,000 Acres Won for Oregon Spotted Frogs

Oregon spotted frogThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week protected 65,038 acres and 20 river miles of "critical habitat" for Oregon spotted frogs in Oregon and Washington. In response to a petition and lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, these frogs were declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2014 -- but not until they'd spent 23 years languishing on a waiting list for protection. The once-plentiful creatures have now disappeared from 90 percent of their range.

Oregon spotted frogs -- one of the few frogs that call to each other under water -- need clean water and stable flows for egg-laying, tadpole development and adult overwintering. They're threatened by wetlands loss, poor river management, reduced water quality, drought and invasive species.

"This habitat protection is good news for Oregon spotted frogs and for future generations, because we can't save endangered species without protecting their homes," said the Center's Tierra Curry. "Amphibians have been on the planet for millions of years, and when they start dying off it's a wake-up call that we need to take better care of our resources."

Get more from KTVZ.

Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin Moves Closer to Protection

Taiwanese humpback dolphinsBig news for one of the world's rarest marine mammals: Responding to a petition by the Center and allies, the National Marine Fisheries Service on Wednesday said Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for Taiwanese humpback dolphins.

There are now fewer than 75 of these dolphins, which remain threatened by pollution, illegal fishing, boat traffic, and development along Taiwan's densely populated west coast. The Endangered Species Act could help by providing technical expertise and resources to support Taiwan in conserving the rare animals. This week's decision means the Fisheries Service will conduct a full review of the dolphins' status to determine whether they'll receive protection.

"It's great that these rare dolphins are a step closer to endangered species protection," said the Center's Miyoko Sakashita. "Small cetaceans around the world are disappearing -- baiji in China went extinct, and vaquitas in Mexico are nearing that point -- so we need bold action to save them."

Read more in our press release.

Three New California National Monuments Celebrated

Castle Mountains National MonumentAlong with hundreds of local desert residents, elected officials, community, faith and tribal leaders and others, the Center joined Interior Secretary Sally Jewell last week near Palm Springs to celebrate three new national monuments in the Southern California desert: Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains.

These national monuments include some of the country's most spectacular scenery and are a refuge for precious endangered plants and animals -- so there's plenty of reason to honor them.

Mojave Trails National Monument preserves 1.6 million acres of striking desert lands, linking Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve; Sand to Snow rises from the desert to the alpine heights of Southern California's tallest mountain, Mount San Gorgonio; and Castle Mountains protects a formerly missing piece in the Mojave National Preserve, providing vital habitat for golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain lions and bobcats.

The Center will be working with federal agencies to ensure the new monuments and their wildlife are well protected as management plans develop.

Read more in our press release.

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Myth-busting Study: Wolf Killing Spurs Wolf Poaching

WolfWolf managers, listen up: A study published this week finds that thinning wolf populations actually decreases public tolerance for wolves and leads to more poaching.

The analysis of wolf populations in Wisconsin and Michigan, by scientists Adrian Treves and Guillaume Chapron, undermines assertions by government officials and opponents of wolf protection that culling wolves is necessary to mollify the segment of the human population that might otherwise poach the animals. In fact the study -- involving 18 years of data -- found that when wolf culling was allowed, poaching increased as well; when wolves were protected from culling, poaching decreased.

"This important study should trigger more humane, science-based management of wolves," said the Center's Michael Robinson. "One of the best things governments can do to cut poaching is to send the message that wolves have a high public value and deserve to be treated accordingly."

Read more in our press release and check out this cool video explaining the study using Playmobil figures.

Fighting Food Waste to Save Wildlife

Sad grapefruit faceThe Center's "Take Extinction Off Your Plate" campaign highlights the environmental destruction caused by our agricultural system and dietary choices, but it's important to remember that what you don't eat can have almost as much impact as what you do. Forty percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten -- about $218 billion worth -- wasting all the land, water, pesticides and fossil fuel that went into producing it.

That's why the Center is joining the fight against food waste. Until now wildlife hasn't been part of the food-waste conversation, even though uneaten food is a major contributor to climate change, habitat loss and pollution. This week Center staff went to New York to join other anti-food-waste activists in co-hosting "Feeding the 5000" -- a public event that provides 5,000 meals sourced entirely from fresh, top-quality produce that would have otherwise been thrown away, and serves up actions people can take to reduce their own food waste.

Learn more about the environmental cost of food waste and what you can do to help.

'Idiots Run Amok' at Death Valley National Park

Surveillance camera footage Devils HoleThe Center has tripled the reward to $15,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case of three men whose drunken spree may have led to the death of a tiny endangered fish in Death Valley National Park on April 30.

According to news reports, three men in at least one off-highway vehicle drove around a security fence protecting the habitat of Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park, fired a gun, and skinny-dipped in a pool that's the last wild habitat on Earth for about 100 endangered Devils Hole pupfish. One of these extremely rare fish was killed.

"Devils Hole pupfish have been teetering on the brink of extinction for years," said the Center's Ileene Anderson. "The last thing they need are these idiots running amok in the last place on Earth where they still survive."

Read more at Vice and watch our video including security-camera footage of the incident.

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Earthquake Danger: Leases Must Be Halted in Oklahoma, Kansas

Oklahoma earthquake graphOn Monday the Center asked the Interior Department to pull 11 public fossil fuel leases recently sold in Oklahoma and Kansas, due to the increased risk of earthquakes caused by fracking and underground oil-wastewater injection. These practices aren't just dangerous to our wildlife, wildlands and climate, but also to people -- including tens of thousands of Oklahoma and Kansas residents. Yet the Bureau of Land Management didn't consider earthquake threats in its environmental assessment before the lease sale.

Our letter to Interior coincides with our release of a new video illustrating the horrific spike in oil wastewater-induced earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past decade. The video shows seismic activity first popping up sporadically, then rapidly exploding all over central and northern Oklahoma -- leading to the state's 2015 record high of 30 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or greater (compared to one or two per decade before the fracking boom).

"This just adds to the urgency to halt new oil and gas leasing and keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground," said the Center's Wendy Park.

Read more in Tulsa World and check out our time-lapse earthquake video.

Think We're a Great Nonprofit? Speak Up With a Review

American pikaIf you're looking for another way to help the Center save wildlife and wildlands, please take a few minutes to review us at, a site (like Yelp or TripAdvisor) where you can tell others just how effective, passionate and hardworking we are as a nonprofit group.

Thanks to lots of previous stellar (that is, five-star) reviews by kind supporters, the Center has won a "top-rated" award at GreatNonprofits every year since the site began more than six years ago. But to get our 2016 award -- which will help us spread the word about saving the wild world -- we need a steady stream of esteem.

So please, friends and supporters, write us a rave review today.

Wild & Weird: Jellyfish With Glowing Gonads?

JellyfishRecent video captured at a depth of 2.3 miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean shows a jellyfish so dazzling one might imagine it adrift in a distant galaxy.

Scientists believe this "hydromedusa" may belong to the genus Crossota and is likely an ambush predator. Pay attention to the jelly's posture in the first half of the video as it drifts along: The creature's translucent body may function much as a spider's web does, snaring unwitting prey that enters. Scientists have also said the bright-yellow spheres ringing its insides may be glowing gonads.

Watch our video of the footage captured by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; then read more in Scientific American.

Kieran Suckling

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: Oregon spotted frog courtesy Kelly McAllister/Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Taiwanese humpback dolphin courtesy Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society; Castle Mountains National Monument courtesy Bob Wick/BLM; wolves by John Pitcher; wolf by Mark Kent/Flickr; grapefruit face by Eric Wienke/Flickr; Devils Hole surveillance camera image courtesy National Park Service; grizzly bear (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Oklahoma earthquakes video by Richard Stover; American pika by William C. Gladish; jellyfish courtesy NOAA.

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