Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rare Cats From Government Killing

The Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Welfare Institute this week sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop endangered ocelots from being inadvertently killed as part of the long-running program targeting coyotes, bears, bobcats and other wildlife in Arizona and Texas. USDA's "Wildlife Services" program kills tens of thousands of animals in these two states alone every year using traps, snares and poisons.

Ocelots -- whose name comes from an Aztec word meaning "field tiger" -- are spotted, big-eyed, night-hunting cats living in Texas, Arizona, Mexico, and Central and South America.

"With fewer than 100 ocelots remaining in the United States, we're trying to make sure none will suffer and die in traps set for other animals targeted by Wildlife Services," said the Center's Collette Adkins.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Band-rumped storm-petrel

49 Hawaiian Plants, Animals Thrown Lifeline

Good news for a long list of Hawaiian species on the brink of extinction: Under the Center's landmark 757 species agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service just protected an impressive 49 Hawaiian plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act. They're threatened by habitat destruction, invasive species and climate change. The Center petitioned to protect 19 of them in 2004.

The newly protected species include the band-rumped storm-petrel; the orange-black Hawaiian damselfly; an anchialine pool shrimp; seven species of yellow-faced bees; and 27 plants, including a gardenia and loulu palm.

Hawaii is on the front lines of the extinction crisis, with more listed species than any other state.

So far 177 species have received protection as a result of the Center's 2011 settlement, and another 22 are proposed for safeguards.

Read more in The Huffington Post.

Hear the Call of 'Toughie,' the Last Frog of His Kind

Rabb's Fringe-legged tree frog

Believed to be the last Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog in the world, Toughie died Sept. 26 in his home at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. He was estimated at 12 years old, and a member of a species -- discovered in 2005 in Panama -- that had been devastated by the notorious chytrid fungus.

Toughie mated with a female Rabbs' some years ago, but their tadpoles died, and by 2012 Toughie was the sole member of his species known to remain. His vocalizations were caught on tape for posterity.

Listen to Toughie's last call.


Save These Ocean Beauties From Extinction -- Take Action

Often called living fossils because of their striking resemblance to ocean creatures from half a billion years ago, chambered nautiluses are a delight to behold. They have up to 90 separate tentacles, and their fractal shell design is a mathematical wonder. Sadly they're being drastically overfished for the international shell trade.

But there's good news: 182 nations just ratified a decision to rein in the nautilus trade through an extensive permitting system.

And in response to a Center petition, the National Marine Fisheries Service has said Endangered Species Act protection may also be warranted. Our petition seeks to curb imports of nautilus shells and calls for the U.S. government to encourage the Philippines, Indonesia and other Indo-Pacific countries to enforce their environmental laws and stop unsustainable harvest.

Act now and urge the Fisheries Service to protect the nautilus before it's too late.

Like Clean Air? Soot Suit Targets Pollution in 26 States

Sooty traffic

The Center and allies have sued the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to enforce air-quality standards that limit dangerous particulate, fossil-fuel pollution from coal-fired power plants, cars and other sources. Our lawsuit seeks to force the EPA to ensure that communities in 26 states are taking legally required steps to meet clean-air standards to reduce soot pollution.

"The EPA and many states are ignoring their duty to clean up our skies to protect us all from dangerous pollution," said the Center's Jonathan Evans.

Read more in our press release.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Wins Protection

Eastern massasauga rattlesnake

Another success from our 757 species settlement: The feds have protected the eastern massasauga rattlesnake under the Endangered Species Act.

"It's too bad this shy, nonaggressive snake had to wait more than 30 years to get protection, but I'm glad it finally has," said Elise Bennett, a Center attorney dedicated to helping reptiles and amphibians.

Draining wetlands has devastated the snakes' habitat and roads prevent population dispersal. The snakes are also killed by humans out of unfounded fear. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

John Fleming

"Given these shocking new findings, California regulators should immediately halt the use of oil-waste fluid in any procedure that could contaminate the water we drink or the food we eat."

— John Fleming, Center scientist, on a just-released report showing that people in California's Central Valley could be drinking water tainted by cancer-causing chemicals used in oilfields. Read more.

Sperm whale

Gulf Blasts Would Torment Marine Mammals 32 Million Times

A new federal report concludes that planned underwater seismic surveys for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico would harass marine mammals up to 32 million times, including 80 percent of the Gulf's endangered sperm whale population. These whales are already down to only about 760 animals -- yet if the seismic surveys are allowed, they'll reportedly experience as many as 760,000 harassing exposures to airgun blasting over the next decade.

The report finally acknowledges what environmental groups have long warned -- as Center Oceans Director Miyoko Sakashita said, "Oil and gas surveys deafen and injure whales, and marine mammals shouldn't have to endure these seismic assaults."

The report, now under review, doesn't go far enough to reduce seismic surveys in the Gulf, and what's needed is to curb dirty fossil fuels.

Read more in our press release.

Save the Weirdos


Manatees: The Weird Cows of the Sea

Western glacier stonefly

Glacier-dependent Stoneflies Proposed for Protection

Thanks to work by the Center and allies, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect the western glacier stonefly and meltwater lednian stonefly, two rare, delicate insects found in streams formed by glacial meltwater in and around Glacier National Park.

Both species are imminently threatened with extinction by climate change. "As go the glaciers of Glacier National Park, so go these two unique stoneflies," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "These insects have something to tell us: Global warming is changing the planet before our eyes."

Get more from ABC News.

Coral polyps

Wild & Weird: The Eating Habits of Coral

Reef-building corals can get their food in two distinct ways. The first is through a unique relationship with tiny algae called zooxanthellae that live inside coral polyps; using sunlight, these algae create sugar that transfers to and nourishes the host. In turn, the coral provides the algae with a protective home and carbon dioxide.

Coral polyps can also eat by using stinging tentacles to pull zooplankton into their mouths. Polyps' stomach cavities are interconnected, so food obtained by one polyp can be passed to other polyps in the colony. Coral polyps excrete their waste through their mouths.

Watch our new time-lapse video showing polyp "mouths" munching on zooplankton on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Ocelot by Chris Barella/Flickr; band-rumped storm-petrel illustration, public domain; Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog by Brian Gratwicke/Flickr; nautilus courtesy Greg J. Barord; sooty traffic by Chris Yarzab/Flickr; eastern massasauga rattlesnake by Todd Pierson/Flickr; John Fleming staff photo; sperm whale by Amila Tennakoon/Flickr; Save the Weirdos logo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; western glacier stonefly courtesy Joe Giersch/USGS; coral polyps by ericabreetoe/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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