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Ringed seal
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Win: Protection Upheld for Arctic's Ringed Seals

We celebrated this week when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Endangered Species Act protection for ringed seals, Arctic ice seals threatened by climate change. The ruling reverses a 2016 lower-court decision that rejected protection for the seals, which give birth in snow caves built on top of sea ice. Global warming is causing caves to collapse and leaving pups vulnerable to death by freezing or predation.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to protect these seals in 2008. Four years later they were put on the endangered species list — but the oil industry and the state of Alaska challenged that decision.

"The decision underscores the recklessness of the Trump administration's proposal to open up the Arctic Ocean to oil drilling," said the Center's Kristen Monsell. "Ringed seals have a shot at survival thanks to the Endangered Species Act, but only if we rapidly reduce the greenhouse pollution destroying their habitat."

Read more in Anchorage Daily News.

Border wall

Center Goes to Court to Block Border Wall

Center attorney Brian Segee's federal court appearance Friday — fighting the Trump administration's illegal border-wall construction near San Diego — garnered intense national media interest from major outlets like NPR, CNN and even Fox News. A judge will now decide whether Trump can ignore dozens of environmental laws to erect new border walls.

"We won't let Trump waste billions of taxpayer dollars to build a destructive wall that most people don't want," Segee said.

The Center's lawsuit challenges the administration's use of an expired waiver to build wall projects south of San Diego without following laws that protect public lands and wildlife — including endangered Quino checkerspot butterflies and coastal California gnatcatchers. The wall is part of a border-militarization strategy that damages human rights, lands and international relations.

Watch a CNN interview with Segee and read more in The Washington Post.

Vanishing Rio Grande Mussel Protected as Endangered

Rio Grande mussels

After a 29-year delay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week protected Texas hornshell mussels under the Endangered Species Act. New Mexico's last native freshwater mussels, these animals are threatened by dams, pollution, and diminishing rivers due to climate change and water use. The protection decision is part of a settlement with the Center.

Said the Center's Michael Robinson, "This is good news for hornshells — and for all people who rely on clean water and find solace in rivers that still flow."

Read more in the Star-Telegram.

Endangered Species Condoms

This Valentine's Day: 40,000 Endangered Species Condoms

What better way to get people talking about wildlife and human population than thousands of free Endangered Species Condoms on the most romantic holiday of the year?

Yep, this year the Center distributed 40,000 condoms for Valentine's Day. The colorful condom packages include species threatened by population growth and slogans like "Wrap with care, save the polar bear" and "When you're feeling tender, think about the hellbender."

"Lots of couples will get lucky this Valentine's Day, but wildlife will be far less fortunate in our increasingly crowded world," said the Center's Sarah Baillie. "As our population grows and urban sprawl destroys wild spaces, species we know and love pay the price. Endangered Species Condoms help people understand how conscientious family planning can protect wildlife."

Read more in TIME.

Trump and the Astonishing Increase in Oil, Gas Rigs

Oil rig

Since Trump took the White House, the number of oil and gas rigs in the United States has jumped by 38 percent, according to a new story in The Revelator. It's an outgrowth of Trump's prioritization of oil, gas and coal rather than renewable energy sources.

"That the hottest years in human history coincide with a dramatic increase in U.S. drilling for oil and gas is a reminder of what a rogue nation we now live in," Bill McKibben tells The Revelator. Read the story now.

Offshore drilling protest

Join Thousands in Protesting Trump's Offshore Drilling

It's not too late to join the Center and thousands of our supporters in raising your voice against Trump's plan to dramatically expand offshore drilling. Trump's plan will worsen climate change and could trigger more than 5,500 oil spills in wildlife habitat in the Arctic, off the West and East coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Upcoming rallies protesting the plan are happening today (in Albany, N.Y.) through March 8, including one in Raleigh, N.C. on Feb. 26. More than 500 people gathered last week in Sacramento alone — now it's your turn to be one of these passionate protesters in your community.

Learn more and get details on the rallies and take action now to stop Trump's unacceptable plan.

Rare Blackbirds Closer to California Protection

Tri-colored blackbird

Responding to a Center petition, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended tricolored blackbirds for safeguards under the state's Endangered Species Act. California will officially decide in April whether to protect the birds — plus a rare pink wildflower called the Lassics lupine.

"Tricolored blackbirds definitely need protection to reverse their slide toward extinction," said Center biologist Ileene Anderson. "With surveys showing population declines for both the blackbird and the lupine, California's recommendations are spot on." Read more.

Suit Targets Trump Over Dumping Fracking Waste

Sea birds in the Gulf of Mexico

The Center joined Gulf Restoration Network and Louisiana Bucket Brigade this week to sue the Trump administration for letting oil companies dump waste from fracking and drilling into the Gulf of Mexico without evaluating the dangers to water quality, species or the environment.

Federal waters in the western Gulf host the largest concentration of offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the country. Federal documents revealed that oil companies dumped more than 75 billion gallons of wastewater into these waters in 2014 alone.

Read more in The Times-Picayune.

Painted wolves

Wild & Weird: A Democracy of Dogs?

When a pack of painted wolves — also called African wild dogs — aren't sure whether or not it's time to go on a hunt, the group engages in a bout of sneeze-voting to see how many of the canines are ready. According to researchers, the more sneezes, the more likely the group will go hunt.

Check out our video about the voting habits of painted wolves on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram; then read more in The New York Times.

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Photo credits: Ringed seal by John Moran; border wall by inkflip/Flickr; Rio Grande mussels courtesy USFWS; Endangered Species Condoms courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; oil rig by therl3/Flickr; offshore drilling protesters by Nicola Buck; tricolored blackbird by Alan Schmierer/Flickr; sea birds at the Gulf of Mexico by ed_aisela/Flickr; painted wolves by Tarique Sani/Flickr.

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