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Center for Biological Diversity

No. 829, June 2, 2016

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Lawsuit Challenges Wildlife Services' Wolf Killing in Idaho

WolfThe U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Wildlife Services" program killed more than 70 wolves in Idaho last year using all manner of gruesome methods -- including foothold traps, wire snares that strangle, and aerial gunners in helicopters. Sometimes government agents will even use planes or helicopters to run wolves to exhaustion before shooting them from the air, often leaving them wounded to die slow, painful deaths.

This has to stop. The Center for Biological Diversity and allies this week sued Wildlife Services over its wolf-killing campaign, which relies on outdated analyses, incomplete science and a failure to consider whether livestock owners take common-sense measures to avoid conflicts with wolves before kill orders are issued. We're calling on Wildlife Services to halt all wolf killing until it prepares an updated environmental analysis of the program in Idaho.

"Wildlife Services has killed hundreds of Idaho's wolves over the years and has never even bothered to consider how much mortality a wolf population can handle," said the Center's Andrea Santarsiere.

Read our press release.

Protection Sought for Nautilus, Ancient Mollusk Falling to Shell Trade

NautilusThe chambered nautilus, a relative of squid and octopi, is a beautiful ocean mollusk with a spiral shell and about 90 tentacles it uses to catch prey. It's often called a "living fossil" because of its striking resemblance to ancestors that swam shallow seas half a billion years ago. But these mollusks are now threatened with extinction due to overharvest for the international shell trade.

So on Tuesday the Center petitioned to protect them under the Endangered Species Act, seeking to curtail imports of chambered nautilus shells and help prevent the extinction of the species in the Indo-Pacific. Over the past 16 years, nearly 1.7 million nautilus shell products have been imported into the United States.

"The chambered nautilus is being collected and sold into extinction for jewelry and other trinkets," said Dr. Abel Valdivia, a marine scientist with the Center. "Endangered Species Act protections can play a lifesaving role for these incredible animals, but we need to act fast."

Read more in our press release.

Tell the EPA to Protect Bees, Not Pesticide Companies -- Take Action

Honey beeThe U.S. Department of Agriculture's honey bee die-off numbers just came out -- and the news isn't good.

Beekeepers lost an average of 44 percent of their colonies last year, and it's not just honey bees that are disappearing. Native pollinators like bumblebees are also experiencing steep declines. The cause is not mystery: A massive body of science confirms that pesticide use is a leading factor in the alarming losses to pollinator populations.

The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to help bring back bee populations by restricting the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides -- but so far the agency has been dragging its feet. So now we need your help. Along with our allies, we're working to bring millions of signatures to the EPA demanding that it step up and restrict pesticides that harm bees.

Take action and sign our petition now.

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Obama Administration OKs Offshore Fracking in California

Offshore oil rigsThe Obama administration on Friday finalized plans to allow oil companies to resume offshore fracking and dumping chemical-laden wastewater in California's wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel. The decision ends a court-ordered settlement that placed a moratorium on offshore fracking and acidizing in federal waters off California.

Offshore fracking was halted in January after a Center lawsuit challenged the federal government's rubber-stamping of permits without any analysis of threats to wildlife and ocean ecosystems. The resulting settlement required the feds to stop authorizing offshore fracking and acidizing until officials completed a review of the practices' environmental impacts. This new dangerous finding -- that offshore fracking has no significant environmental impact -- glosses over the serious risks of the controversial oil-extraction technique.

"The Obama administration is again putting California's beautiful coast in the oil industry's crosshairs," said Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center's Oceans program. "Our beaches and wildlife face a renewed threat from fracking chemicals and oil spills. New legal action may be the only way to get officials to do their jobs and protect our ocean."

Read more in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Fight Against Fossil Fuel Leasing Hits New Mexico

Oil derrickHalting new federal fossil fuel leasing means going to where the action is. That's why the Center and allies just filed an administrative protest against a federal plan to auction off 13,800 acres of public lands for fossil fuel extraction -- without adequate environmental analysis -- near Carlsbad in southeast New Mexico.

Our protest calls on the Bureau of Land Management to halt this auction as part of the rapidly growing national "Keep It in the Ground" movement urging the Obama administration to stop all new federal fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans -- a step that would keep up to 450 billion tons of potential carbon pollution in the ground.

"Each new fossil fuel lease commits us to more climate disruption, habitat destruction, and polluted air and water resources," said the Center's My-Linh Le.

Read more in our press release and then learn about the Keep It in the Ground movement.

Legal Fight Targets Wildlife-killing Contract in California

Mountain lionThe Center and allies filed a lawsuit in California this morning challenging Monterey County's contract renewal with Wildlife Services, the federal government's notorious wildlife-killing program that has killed more than 3,000 coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other animals in the county in the past five years.

The county failed to conduct an environmental analysis or obtain public comment before authorizing Wildlife Services' use of traps and snares in the sensitive Monterey ecosystem.

"Californians should be aware that their tax dollars are funding this harmful, indiscriminate wildlife-killing program," said Center attorney Collette Adkins. "We hope our lawsuit spurs Monterey County to realize that people value wildlife and this business-as-usual killing is no longer acceptable."

Read more in our press release.

Take Action

Those Date Labels on Your Food? They're Hurting the Planet -- Take Action

Food expiration dateNinety percent of Americans toss perfectly safe food simply because of the date printed on the packaging. But here's the dirty little secret behind all that wasted food: Those date labels have nothing to do with whether food is spoiled or unsafe. In fact, except when it comes to baby formula, those "sell by," "use by" and "best by" dates are effectively unregulated.

Misleading date labels take a serious toll on the environment. It's estimated that the lack of a standard, meaningful system for expiration dates is costing the planet each year more than 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 192 billion gallons of water. The Food Date Labeling Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), would create a national system for date labels that distinguishes between when food may have passed its peak freshness and when it may become unsafe, in addition to allowing food to be sold or donated past its "best if used by" date.

Help support the Food Date Labeling Act to keep food, money and natural resources out of the garbage.

Want to Read More About Our Work? Check out Medium

Medium logoWe get it: When it comes to saving wildlife and wild places, there's a lot to stay on top of. And when it comes to telling your friends and family about what's happening in the world, you need information. Good information.

The Center's new page on Medium can help. Every week our experts are posting pieces about some of the most critical environmental issues of our time, including climate change, fossil fuels, pesticides, wildlife extinction and renewable energy. Medium was built to be shared on social networks -- and our pieces are just the kind you'll want to pass along to your friends and family.

Take a minute today to check out our Medium page and sign up to get updates.

Wild & Weird: Watch Saguaros Bloom in Time Lapse

Saguaro blooms videoLate spring is a magical time here in the Sonoran desert. Coyote pups are venturing out of their mother's dens, millions of bats are migrating in from digs further south, and saguaros -- those strange and giant cacti so iconic to Wild West films -- are offering up their magnificent blooms.

Saguaros can grow up to 50 feet tall, live more than 200 years, and weigh several tons, with much of their weight consisting of stored water. During the night the saguaro's beautiful white flowers -- which some say smell like overripe melons -- are pollinated by lesser long-nosed bats and Mexican long-tongued bats. During the day they're pollinated by bees and birds.

Watch our video of saguaro flowers blooming in time lapse.

Kieran Suckling

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

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Photo credits: wolf by Jan Rose/Flickr; nautilus by Greg J. Barord; bee by kevinjc/Flickr; wolves by John Pitcher; offshore oil rigs (c) Drew Bird Photography; oil derrick by Steve Lyon/Flickr; mountain lion by Kool Kats Photography/Flickr; grizzly bear (c) Robin Silver; peanut butter expiration date by Center for Biological Diversity; Medium logo; saguaro blooms by Ron Pelton.

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