Endangered Earth Online: Your weekly wildlife update.
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Suit Defies Massive Export of Animals Killed for Fur Trade

Did you know the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows about 80,000 animals that have been trapped and killed in the United States to be exported every year? Many of them are "furbearing" species like bobcats, river otters, wolves, lynx and bears. This week the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Service with the goal of reducing the number of animals killed.

The international fur market has boomed recently, largely driven by demand in China, Russia and Europe.

"The United States exports a shocking number of animals trapped and killed for their fur each year," said Sarah Uhlemann, our international program director. "With killing on such a massive scale, it's time for U.S. regulators to take a hard look at the environmental consequences of the growing fur-export market."

Read more in our press release.

Polar bear cub

Trump Green-lights Arctic Ocean Drilling

The Trump administration has just approved a proposal, submitted by a U.S. subsidiary of the Italian oil giant Eni, to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean — setting the stage for a devastating spill in one of the world's most biologically rich and sensitive areas. And it gave the public only 21 days to comment on Eni's destructive plan.

"Approving this Arctic drilling plan in a rush makes a dangerous project even riskier," said the Center's Kristen Monsell.

In May the Center and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's April 28 executive order, which intends to revoke permanent protections for most of the Beaufort Sea and all of the Chukchi Sea from new offshore oil and gas drilling. The suit is pending, but Eni's project is planned for a part of the Beaufort not included in the protection decision.

Read more in Alaska Dispatch News.

Don't Let Trump's Coal Agenda Ruin This Roadless Forest

Northern goshawk

Trump wants to expand coal mining into Colorado's stunning Sunset Roadless Area, a rolling landscape of aspen and spruce-fir forests that's a treasured recreational resource and home to animals like beavers, black bears, mountain lions, goshawks and imperiled Canada lynx.

Please take a moment to speak up for Colorado's wildlife — and Earth's climate, which would be harmed by the 17 million tons of coal that would be mined from the roadless area — and tell the U.S. Forest Service to leave these public lands alone.

Humpback whale

Five More Bills Pushed to Cripple Endangered Species Act

They're at it again. This week the House Natural Resources Committee, led by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, held a hearing on five bills that would substantially weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Bishop said in December that his goal was to repeal the Act — and these bills are likely the foundation of that effort. The Center will fight every bill aimed at hurting the Act, which is responsible for saving bald eagles and humpback whales and putting hundreds of species on the road to recovery.

"If these dangerous bills are enacted, hundreds of plants and animals will be put on a fast track to extinction," said the Center's Brett Hartl.

Read more in our press release.

Ask Dr. Donley: What's the Safest Skeeter Spray?

Ask Dr. Donley

It's that time of year: The mosquitoes are out in multitudes, and if you want to be out too, you probably want to arm your arms (and the rest of you) against their itchy bites, not to mention the diseases they can carry — like the Zika virus — now on the upswing due to climate change.

But which bug sprays are effective and safe — for your body and the environment?

Center expert Dr. Donley provides all the deets on DEET (and lots more) in his latest Medium column.


Earth Nears Sixth Mass Extinction — It's Time for Alarm

A new report by three famous scientists offers the latest evidence that Earth is nearing its largest extinction event since the dinosaurs died out, with humans to blame.

Published this month in the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences, the study shows that the populations of nearly 9,000 vertebrate species, including cheetahs, lions and giraffes, have dramatically declined in the past century, with species going extinct at a thousand times the natural rate.

"The study is right in raising alarm bells ... especially with our changing climate," the Center's Noah Greenwald said in The Washington Post. "We really need to protect as much habitat as we can now. Our population continues to expand, our consumption continues to expand. We're going in the wrong direction quickly."

Read more in The Washington Post.

Tell the EPA to Ban Bee-killing Pesticides


Did you know that pollinators like bees are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat? We owe a lot to our pollinator friends — and now they urgently need our help.

The widespread use of a dangerous class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics, is threatening pollinators nationwide. Although the EPA has acknowledged that neonics pose significant risks to bees, the agency refuses to stand up to pesticide companies and take action to rein in their use. Create some buzz for bees by telling the EPA to ban pollinator-killing pesticides.

Agreement Reached to Save Elk at Point Reyes

Tule elk

The Center and allies have reached a settlement resolving our lawsuit over cattle grazing that threatens imperiled tule elk in California's Point Reyes National Seashore.

The National Park Service will amend the park's management plan to consider alternatives to grazing on public lands — including ending or reducing it — and will conduct a public environmental review.

"This is a win for Point Reyes' rare elk and anyone concerned about its wetlands, streams and wildlife habitat," said the Center's Jeff Miller. Read more.

Baboon spiders

Wild & Weird: Rare Footage of Baboon Spiders Getting It On

Spider sex can be complicated: There are 16 legs involved, and sometimes the female eats the male before coitus. (Ideally, she leaves her mate meal till after.) But for baboon spiders, which spend a great majority of their lives alone underground, there's the added complication of simply finding a potential mate.

Luckily for us, wildlife biology student Ryan MacDonnell — while volunteering in Limpopo Province, South Africa — was quick to recognize the telltale signs of a sexually excited male baboon spider, and he was equally quick with his video camera. His footage provides us with an extremely rare and amazing glimpse of the species in the throes of passion.

Staying true to spiders' romantic nature, the female star of this show does attempt to stab the male in the face with her fangs.

Take a look for yourself on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Bobcat by Sharon Figula/Flickr; polar bear cub by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; northern goshawk by sloalan/Flickr; humpback whale by deerisch/Flickr; Ask Dr. Donley logo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; giraffe by arnolouise/Flickr; honeybee by mattcornock/Flickr; tule elk by austlee/Flickr; baboon spiders by Ryan MacDonnell.

Center for Biological Diversity
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