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Bears Ears National Monument
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Join Our National Week of Action to Save Public Lands

Our fight to save public lands is reaching a critical point, and we need your help. Any moment now we're expecting the Trump administration to make deep and devastating cuts to some of our country's most iconic national monuments, including Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — part of a broad, orchestrated attack on our public lands.

That's why the Center for Biological Diversity's Ignite Change network is joining with the Sierra Club and other environmental and native groups to fight back. On Saturday we're launching the Save Our National Monuments Week of Action, with hundreds of events including rallies, protests and monument visits.

Can you help? Check out this map to find or host an event near you — and don't forget to sign up to be part of Ignite Change.


Center in Japan, Fighting to Save Dugongs

The Okinawa dugong is one of our planet's most endangered marine mammals. A Center team is in Japan this week to help prevent this gentle, severely imperiled manatee relative from being wiped out by the American military.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Defense is plowing ahead with plans to build a massive new air base in Okinawa's Henoko Bay, smack in the heart of key dugong habitat.

Led by Center cofounder Peter Galvin and Mati Waiya, a Chumash tribe ceremonial leader and Center board member, our team is visiting the proposed air base site. Dugongs are an ancient Okinawan icon, so we're working with local activists to challenge the base in court and preserve this creature with profound significance to the island's indigenous culture.

Join the fight to save Okinawa dugongs.

Last-ditch Effort to Save Vaquitas


With fewer than 30 individuals surviving, Mexico's vaquitas are the most endangered cetaceans on Earth. For decades the Mexican government has been complicit in the decline of these small porpoises by failing to regulate gillnet fishing. So the Center and partners this week filed legal notice pressing the U.S. government to ban seafood caught from Mexico's Upper Gulf of California.

"We'll sue to block seafood caught with the nets killing these pint-sized porpoises," said the Center's Sarah Uhlemann. Read more and take action.


Records Sought on Feds' Move to Allow Elephant Imports

Right after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's director embarked on a trip to Africa to attend an event held by trophy-hunting group Safari Club International, the Trump administration declared it would lift the ban on importing elephant trophies from Zimbabwe.

After massive public outcry Trump tweeted his intention to keep that ban in place — for now. But tweets are hardly binding, and Zimbabwe's elephants' future is at risk. So the Center submitted a Freedom of Information Act request Tuesday for records of the African junket.

"Nothing got better for elephants in southern Africa this year, so the public has a right to know what really motivated the abhorrent decision to allow the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe," said the Center's Government Affairs Director Brett Hartl.

Read more in our press release.

Holiday Conversation Starter: Endangered Species Condoms

Endangered Species Condoms

Holiday parties are perfect for awkward conversations. Why not start one about the effect the world's human population is having on wildlife? Let us help by supplying you with some of our free Endangered Species Condoms.

These condoms help educate people across the country about how endangered species — from Ozark hellbenders to monarch butterflies — are affected by humans' rapidly growing numbers. If you want to help spread the word, sign up before Dec. 8 to give away condoms at your next holiday party. Supplies are limited.


Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Copper Mine

The controversial open-pit Rosemont copper mine planned for southern Arizona would devastate jaguar habitat and scar the beautiful wild country of the Santa Rita Mountains. It would use more than 30 billion gallons of precious desert water while violating multiple environmental laws.

So on Monday the Center and allies filed suit to overturn the U.S. Forest Service's approval of Rosemont.

"The Rosemont Mine would permanently destroy endangered species habitat and pollute some of Arizona's most important waterways," said Marc Fink, a senior attorney with the Center. "The Forest Service should be working to protect rivers, streams and wildlife in the Coronado National Forest, not green-lighting this destructive project."

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Mojave Trails National Monument

Trump Wine Found for Sale at National Park

When our Senior Counsel Bill Snape visited Shenandoah National Park earlier this year, he found cases of Trump wine for sale at a hotel on the park's grounds.

This could violate the Constitution's emoluments clause, which forbids presidents from getting any benefits (other than salary) for their service. So the Center has filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to reveal how the wine came to be sold at the park.

"Whatever you want to say about George Bush or Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, we weren't eating Jimmy Carter peanuts or buying George Bush oil or using Bill Clinton condoms," said Snape. "Where's the line between the public duty and personal profit-seeking?"

Read more in The Atlantic.

Mojave Trails National Monument

Suit Challenges Trump's OK of Massive Mojave Water Grab

The Center and allies sued the Trump administration Tuesday for approving the Cadiz project — a 43-mile pipeline that would simultaneously suck the California desert dry and destroy wildlife habitat — without environmental review.

The pipeline would pump 16 billion gallons of water per year from an ancient, fragile desert aquifer to Southern California, passing through the Mojave Trails National Monument and other California public lands. Yet, reversing two Obama-era decisions, the Trump administration illegally decided the project doesn't need any federal permits or approvals.

"This unsustainable water-privatization scheme will devastate wildlife and wildlands while developers count their money," said Center biologist Ileene Anderson.

Read more in The Washington Post.

In The Revelator: Small Changes, Big Climate Consequences

Polar bears

So what if the world gets half a degree warmer?

This week The Revelator spotlights an important essay by Flavio Lehner and Steven Amstrup on how tiny fluctuations in global temperatures can have profound effects. The fallout is felt around the world, by island nations battling rising seas and by polar bears on the hunt. This piece is another key reminder to take climate action now, before it's too late.

Check out the essay and don't forget to sign up for The Revelator's weekly newsletter.


Wild & Weird: Butterflies Slurping Elephant Dung

Biologists use the term "puddling" to describe the unsavory habit of butterflies (and some other insects) of guzzling nutrient-rich fluids from rotting plants, corpses and excrement.

Butterflies have been recorded feasting on all kinds of feces — including elephant scat, leopard poo and bear biscuits — in order to draw out important salts and amino acids.

For some reason this behavior seems to be more common in male butterflies than female.

Check out our video of butterflies puddling on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Bears Ears National Monument by Bob Wick/BLM; dugong by maynard/Flickr; vaquita by Paula Olson/NOAA; elephants by erlendaasland/Flickr; Endangered Species Condoms courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Sombra the jaguar courtesy Arizona Fish and Game; Shenandoah National Park by Shane Lin/Flickr; Mojave Trails National Monument by Bob Wick/BLM; polar bears by trasroid/Flickr; butterfly, public domain.

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