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North Atlantic right whales
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

A Legal Lifeline for Some of the World's Rarest Whales

There are only about 450 North Atlantic right whales left on Earth, and too many of them get caught in lobster trap lines and other commercial fishing gear. In fact scientists have determined that entanglement is the leading cause of death for these whales — and there's been an alarming die-off in the past year that's overwhelming recovery efforts.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies just sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to prevent the whales' deaths.

"Right whales could disappear forever if they keep getting killed in fishing gear," said the Center's Kristen Monsell. "The Trump administration has a legal and moral responsibility to act right now to prevent these amazing animals from suffering more deadly, painful entanglements."

We appreciate your support in this work. Read more in the Cape Cod Times.

Mountain lion

Eastern Puma Officially Declared Extinct

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week confirmed the eastern puma is extinct and removed it from the federal endangered species list. This distinct population of cougars once lived from Quebec to South Carolina and Manitoba to Illinois.

The decision clears the way for states like New York to reintroduce cougars from the widespread and abundant western population. Eastern pumas, also known as mountain lions, were killed off throughout the 1700s and 1800s until 1938, when the last one fell to a hunter in Maine.

Western pumas disperse widely and have shown up as far east as Connecticut.

"We need large carnivores like cougars to keep the wild food web healthy, so we hope eastern and midwestern states will reintroduce them," said the Center's Michael Robinson.

Get more from Reuters and The Revelator.

Raise Your Voice Against Offshore Drilling

Sea otter

The government shutdown this week forced the cancellation of several hearings on Trump's new plans to dramatically expand offshore drilling around the country.

Now that the government's reopened, the hearings will resume and a series of rallies is in the works starting Feb. 3. We're working overtime to get as many people as possible to these events to speak out against the attack on our oceans and wildlife.

Take a moment to join Ignite Change and check out this list of hearings you can attend and actions you can take.

Sandhill crane

Idaho Win: Feds Halt Oil and Gas Lease Sale

After the Center and allies filed protests against an oil and gas lease sale near eastern Idaho's Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump administration has halted the sale.

Fracking and drilling would threaten imperiled greater sage grouse and likely hurt other wildlife in the area, which is also celebrated for hosting the world's largest nesting population of sandhill cranes.

"Halting this sale was the right decision," said Michael Saul, a senior attorney at the Center. "It's good to see the Bureau of Land Management acknowledging the risks and uncertainties of turning this land over to the oil industry."

Read more in our press release.

Trump Waives Laws for New Mexico Border Wall

New Mexico border wall

The Trump administration has waived more than 30 environmental laws to speed construction of 20 miles of border wall in New Mexico. The laws were meant to protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife.

"Trump is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive wall," said Center attorney Brian Segee.

Last year the Center sued to challenge the administration's use of the waiver to build replacement walls south of San Diego. We're now considering challenging the latest waivers. Read more in The Hill.

Women's March participant

Center Op-ed in Ms.: Speaking Up for Women and the Earth

"One year ago," begins Center attorney Jean Su's new op-ed in Ms. magazine, "I found myself standing at the front of a packed airplane cloaked in a somber fog. Donald Trump had been inaugurated just hours before, and the plane reverberated with murmured conversations about who had watched it, who hadn't, who couldn't bring themselves to."

Jean's piece explores the link between speaking up for ourselves as women and speaking up for the planet — a powerful meditation on how the personal and political are one. Read more in "Marching for an Eco-feminist Revolution" about Jean's conviction that we need to act against all the forms of oppression and exploitation that fuel violence — whether it be violence against women or violence against nature.

The Revelator: 222 Birds Now 'Critically Endangered'

Yellow-breasted bunting

In troubling news, The Revelator reports, 222 bird species worldwide are now considered critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. That includes species like the yellow-breasted bunting and the Rimatara reed warbler.

Sadly 21 of the bird species are designated as "possibly extinct" since they haven't been seen for years. Another 461 bird species are now listed as endangered, and 786 are considered vulnerable. Luckily there's also some good news about several species, including the world's largest freshwater bird. Read more in The Revelator.

A Family of Meat Eaters Makes a Change

Produce and groceries

"Shades of Green" is a column by the Center's Jess Herrera about how she and her family are pursuing a more planet-friendly lifestyle. They've made progress in reducing their food waste and use of plastics, but this week they face their toughest challenge yet: eating less meat.

Our national appetite for meat poses a huge threat to wildlife. If we all ate a higher percentage of plant-based foods, we could make a difference. But how do enthusiastic meat-lovers change their ways? Find out in "The Meat of the Matter."


Wild & Weird: Trump's Misplaced Fear of Sharks

Adult film star Stormy Daniels — who allegedly had an affair with Donald Trump before he became president — said recently that he's "obsessed with" and "terrified of sharks." Her statement is backed up by previous tweets by Trump stating that "sharks are last on my list."

But the Donald's fear of sharks is misplaced. In 2016 only four humans were killed by sharks worldwide. By contrast, humans kill more than 10,000 sharks every hour.

Check out our video on Facebook or YouTube and read more in The Hill.

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Photo credits: North Atlantic right whales courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NMFS permit #15488; mountain lion by Eric Kilby; sea otter by deadmike/Flickr; sandhill crane by amaizlish/Flickr; border wall in New Mexico by inkflip/Flickr; Womens March participant by Alan Greig/Flickr; yellow-breasted bunting by Edmond Sham; produce and groceries by lukasbieri/PIXNIO; shark by Leverett Binks-Collier/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702