Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Pangolins Win International Protections

Nations around the world voted this week to formally ban international trade in pangolins -- small, scaly anteaters from Asia and Africa that are now imperiled. The vote occurred at the 17th meeting of parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a treaty ratified by 182 countries.

A shocking 1 million pangolins have been poached in the past decade for their scales and meat, making them the world's most trafficked mammals. Unfortunately their charming tactic of rolling their little bodies into balls when threatened has only made them easier to bag. The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned for U.S. protection of pangolins in 2015.

Said the Center's Sarah Uhlemann, "With this vote, the world may have just saved pangolins from extinction."

Read more in our press release.

Rare Desert Turtle Proposed for Protection After 19 Years

Sonoyta mud turtle

Following the Center's settlement to speed protections for 757 species, the imperiled Sonoyta mud turtle has been proposed for Endangered Species Act protection. This turtle has been languishing on the "candidate" list -- receiving zero true protection -- since 1997, despite a 2005 Center petition.

With webbed feet and mad swimming skills, the Sonoyta mud turtle has evolved, amazingly, to be highly aquatic in one of the Sonoran desert's driest areas. With water scarce, this turtle has only one U.S. population, in a single southern Arizona spring. Read more at Cronkite News.

Stealing California's Future report cover

Monterey County Crude Worse for Climate Than Tar Sands Oil

Crude from the biggest oilfield in Monterey County, California, is more climate-damaging than the notoriously dirty oil from Canada's Alberta tar sands, a Center analysis of state data reveals.

Our report found that crude from the county's San Ardo oilfield, annually generating about 3.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution, is the most carbon-intensive crude from any large California oilfield. Yet regulators are poised to lay the groundwork to expand the field.

"The oil spewing out of San Ardo's wells is a major threat to California's fight against the climate crisis," said report author Brian Nowicki, our California climate policy director. "Regulators shouldn't let oil companies produce even more high-carbon crude from this oilfield."

Read more in our press release, check out this article in the Monterey County Weekly, and join the movement to pass Measure Z and ban fracking in Monterey.

Tucson's Jaguar, El Jefe, Makes Smithsonian Cover

Smithsonian magazine

After a year in the media spotlight, America's only known wild jaguar -- named El Jefe, or "the Boss," by Tucson schoolchildren -- made the bigtime in a new venue this month as the star of Smithsonian magazine's cover story.

El Jefe, who lives in the Santa Rita Mountains of southern Arizona, is threatened by a proposed open-pit copper mine in habitat crucial to his survival. The Smithsonian feature tells the tale of his apparent migration up from Mexico, as well as of Mayke, the world's first specially trained jaguar-tracking dog, who helps biologist Chris Bugbee -- and those of us keeping tabs at the Center -- follow El Jefe's movements.

Read the Smithsonian story for yourself.


Worldwide Rallies Highlight Plight of Lions, Elephants

At this week's opening of the international meeting of nations that are party to CITES (see above), the Center's Sarah Uhlemann and Tanya Sanerib joined a massive march through the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa, advocating for stronger protections for elephants, rhinos and lions. Simultaneously on Saturday, supporters marched in solidarity around the globe in cities like Minneapolis and San Francisco (where Center staff also took part).

These marches helped raise awareness about poaching elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns -- and, starting this year, about lions hunted as trophies or for their bones.

Said Tanya, "As countries convened for this conference, they were greeted by hundreds of people passionate about saving imperiled animals from brutal deaths."

Read more in The South African.

Put Sustainability on the Menu at National Parks

Vegan burger

The National Park Service is one of the largest food purchasers in the U.S. federal government, serving more than 23.5 million meals annually. But many of its menus lack meat-free options, and the Service has no standards to prevent food waste.

Studies show that meat production is the greatest single threat to biodiversity. And about 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, wasting all the natural resources that went into producing it. Ask the Service to protect our parks, wildlife and climate by reducing its meat and dairy purchasing and creating food-waste standards.


#EcoList of Things We Love

5 Places Abandoned by People But Not Wildlife

Lend a Hand to Yellowstone's Grizzly Bears

Yellowstone grizzly bears

Ignoring a declining grizzly population and a record high rate of bear deaths last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove federal protection for Yellowstone's bears and relinquish responsibility for their management to Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Unfortunately all three states have proposed trophy-hunting seasons for the bears, and their current plans and regulations will put grizzlies in grave jeopardy. Act now to tell the Service that handing over grizzly management to states would be a huge mistake.

Urge Debate Moderators to Ask About Protecting Public Lands


Missing from the first presidential debate was any discussion of protecting America's public lands. Specifically, we're talking about the movement in Congress to seize federal lands and give them to the states -- which could amount to hundreds of millions of acres. Much of these lands would then be logged, mined, drilled, fracked and otherwise used to benefit private corporations.

Take a moment to sign our petition to urge the moderators of debates two and three to ask the candidates about this crucial issue.

Common clothes moth

Wild & Weird: A Mind-blowing Multitude of Moths

Scientists estimate that our planet hosts 160,000 species of moths. To put that in perspective, there are only about 20,000 species of butterflies.

There are more species of moths in the United States than there are bird and mammal species in all of North America. That kind of diversity adds up to an amazing variety of beautiful and often bizarre-looking critters, each of which fills a unique ecosystem niche.

Watch the Center's new video -- on Facebook or YouTube -- highlighting just a smattering of the world's wondrous moths.

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Photo credits: Pangolin by Bart Wursten/Flickr; Sonoyta mud turtle courtesy George Andrejko/Arizona Game and Fish Department; report cover courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; magazine cover courtesy Smithsonian; lions by ThJa2305/Flickr; vegan cheeseburger lunch by Nora Kuby/Flickr; Yellowstone bears by I-Ting Chiang/Flickr; Frostpaw courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; common clothes moth by Dack9/Wikimedia.

Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702