Vaquita illustration
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Report: Only 30 Vaquita Porpoises Left on Earth

Only about 30 vaquitas remain in the world, scientists have revealed in a new report. Vaquitas, the world's smallest and most endangered porpoises, are found nowhere other than the Gulf of California -- and their extinction is imminent unless Mexico permanently and effectively bans gillnet fishing. Entanglement in nets set for totoaba, an endangered fish whose swim bladders are illegally exported to Asia to make soup, is the primary threat to the porpoises.

"Vaquitas are on the verge of vanishing forever," said Sarah Uhlemann, the Center for Biological Diversity's international program director. "Mexico has to get serious now about banning gillnets and actually enforcing the law."

The new report also recommends a temporary captivity program for some vaquita, though that shouldn't divert resources away from instituting a permanent gillnet ban. Stay tuned for how you can help save these incredible animals.

Get more from PRI.

March at Oceti Sakowin

Trump Pushes Ahead With Dakota Access Pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said this week it will grant the final easement needed to complete the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. The announcement came after President Trump called for its quick approval.

The Standing Rock Sioux and hundreds of other tribes vigorously oppose the pipeline due to its impacts to sacred places and water.

"Trying to ram through the Dakota Access pipeline would be as despicable as it is cowardly," said Center Executive Director Kierán Suckling. "Not only will it have profoundly destructive environmental costs, but it's a slap in the face to the hundreds of tribal leaders and brave protectors speaking out to save their land and resources. But President Trump should know this: There's a massive resistance movement growing that will fight this project -- as well as any other that threatens people, civil rights, wildlife and the environment."

Read more at the BBC.

Give Sea Turtles a Chance to Swim Free of Deadly Nets

Green sea turtle

Good news: The National Marine Fisheries Service is at last proposing lifesaving measures to keep sea turtles safe from shrimp trawls. Every year thousands of turtles needlessly drown in these nets set in the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic Ocean. Turtle-excluder devices, or TEDs, allow them to escape the nets -- but they're not yet an industry standard.

With your help that'll soon change. Act now to tell the Fisheries Service you fully support its new proposal to require these common-sense devices for all shrimp trawls.

Ryan Zinke

170 Conservation Groups Urge Rejection of Zinke for Interior

A whopping 170 conservation groups this week urged the U.S. Senate to reject Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) as the next interior secretary. Senators will vote soon on whether to place Zinke in charge of the nation's more than 1,500 endangered species -- plus 500 million acres of public lands and minerals leasing for oil, gas and coal across the country and in our oceans.

Zinke earned just a 3 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters during his two years in Congress, where he consistently put special interests ahead of the nation's wildlife, natural heritage and climate.

"Zinke's voting record qualifies him to be an exterminator, not the chief protector of America's endangered animals and beautiful public lands," said the Center's Kierán Suckling.

Read more in our press release.

Center Rallies as Bundy Trials Kick Off in Nevada

Nevada rally

The Center on Monday led a peaceful, pro-public lands rally outside a U.S. district court in Las Vegas as jury selection began for six defendants accused of halting federal agents during a cattle roundup at Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch in 2014.

Kierán Suckling joined the Center's Taylor McKinnon and Ryan Beam and others outside the courthouse with "I (Heart) Public Lands" and other signs. The trials are part of charges filed against Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and 14 other defendants for their infamous paramilitary standoff with federal authorities. Read more.

Black-footed ferret

Pesticide Win: Case Can Seek Wildlife-protection Measures

A court has green-lighted a lawsuit by the Center and allies seeking common-sense measures to protect endangered wildlife from outdated, highly toxic pesticides.

Now the Center -- and our partners at Pesticide Action Network North America -- can challenge the EPA's longstanding failure to assess the likely harms of pesticides toxic to endangered wildlife nationwide. This ruling reverses that of a lower court.

"No one wants to see wildlife needlessly poisoned, especially species already at the brink of extinction," said the Center's Stephanie Parent.

Read more in our press release.

Methane flare

BLM's Methane Rule Is Under Attack -- Take Action

Last Friday industry-backed members of the House of Representatives continued their assault on the environment by using the Congressional Review Act to dismantle a common-sense rule that would cut dangerous pollution from the oil and gas sector. Finalized in November, the Bureau of Land Management's methane rule aims to limit venting, flaring and leaking of methane from oil and gas operations on public and tribal lands.

Methane is a climate pollutant that heats the atmosphere 87 times more than the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Reductions of methane are essential to avoid catastrophic climate tipping points and to comply with the U.S. commitment to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If the Senate overturns the rule using the Act, the BLM will be prevented from adopting any rule that's "substantially the same."

Tell your senators this is flatly unacceptable. They must oppose any attempts to roll back the BLM's crucial rule.

Bighorn sheep

Wild & Weird: Desert Bighorn Sheep Adapt and Chill

Desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) are a stocky, desert-adapted subspecies native to the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. What sets them apart from bighorns farther north is their unique ability to go long periods without drinking water.

During hot summer months, desert bighorns can go as long as a week without drinking, while in the cooler months they can actually go as long as a month. Unlike most mammals, they can lose up to 30 percent of their body weight in water. That's more water than a camel can lose.

Desert bighorns have also developed a chilled-out approach to life in the blazing heat of the desert -- they spend large amounts of time hanging out in the shade relaxing.

Watch our new video of desert bighorn sheep on Facebook and YouTube.

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Photo credits: Vaquita illustration by Brett Jarrett; march at Oceti Sakowin by Lucas Zhao; green sea turtle by Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia; Ryan Zinke by Gage Skidmore/Flickr; Nevada public lands rally courtesy Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity; black-footed ferret by Kimberly Tamkun/USFWS; methane flares by J. Peischl/Flickr; bighorn sheep by Adam Melain.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702