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Greater sage grouse
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Suit Targets Oil Leases on 2 Million Acres of Grouse Habitat

Our battle continues to save some of the West's most iconic animals.

This week the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed suit over Trump actions that gut protections for imperiled greater sage grouse, rare birds famous for their elaborate mating dances. Our lawsuit includes a challenge of indiscriminate oil and gas leases on nearly 2 million acres of the birds' prime habitat in five states.

At issue are two Trump directives rolling back hard-won compromises to preserve dwindling grouse populations and cutting the public out of oil and gas planning on our public lands.

"Trump can't ignore the law to fulfill the fossil fuel industry's wish list," said the Center's Michael Saul. "There's no scientific or legal basis for these policies, and no public support. What Trump's doing is both wrong and illegal."

Read more in The Washington Post.

Sheepnose mussels

Our Fight to Protect Mussels in 18 States

On Wednesday we filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect critical habitat for four endangered mussels in 18 states.

These small freshwater creatures have declined by nearly 70 percent because of water pollution and dams, and their remaining populations are at high risk of extinction. Due to Center advocacy, the four mussels — snuffbox, spectaclecase, sheepnose and rayed bean — were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2012. But the Service failed to designate protected critical habitat for them as required.

"The health of freshwater mussels directly reflects river health, so protecting these species' homes will help all of us who rely on clean water," said the Center's Tierra Curry.

Read more in our press release.

Renewed Hope for Exploited Arkansas Turtles

Snapping turtle

Following a petition by the Center and allies, Arkansas may end unlimited for-profit collection of its wild freshwater turtles.

Currently trappers can legally capture endless numbers of 14 types of turtle. Thousands of them — all vulnerable to human threats — were sold in the state from 2014 to 2016.

"Arkansas' turtles belong in the wild, not in shipping containers," said Center attorney Elise Bennett. "Hopefully officials will ban commercial collection to preserve the Natural State's beautiful turtle diversity." Read more.

With Help, Big Cat Bounces Back From the Brink

Amur leopard

Amur leopards live in temperate forests of Russia and China and are the only leopards adapted to a cold, snowy climate. In 2000 their outlook was grim: Fewer than 35 individuals remained in the wild, and saving the species seemed impossible.

But thanks to international conservation efforts — the establishment of a large reserve and programs to reduce poaching — there are now 100 Amur leopards, three times as many as there were two decades ago.

Learn more at The Revelator.

A Giant Win for Florida's Goliath Groupers

Goliath grouper

Chalk up a great victory for Florida wildlife: The state wildlife commission has refused to end a 28-year ban on catching goliath groupers, huge fish that can weigh 800 pounds but nearly vanished in the 1970s.

Our deepest thanks go to the 2,400 Center activists who spoke up for groupers earlier this year. Center staffers also proffered written comments and oral testimony against lifting the ban. We're grateful for everyone who helped secure this win — and glad these ocean giants can keep patrolling Florida's reefs. Read more.

Center Op-ed: Trump's Oil-drilling Attack on the Arctic

Polar bears at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Center's Miyo Sakashita has a new column in The Hill about the Trump administration's all-out assault on the Arctic. To save the pristine Far North from oil spills and curb climate change, she writes, we must stop this attack.

The feds recently announced lease-sale plans for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — strongly opposed by most Americans for decades. Trump is aggressively pushing Arctic drilling, selling off vast tracts of public lands and oceans, and rolling back rules meant to prevent catastrophic oil spills.

Read Miyo's op-ed.

Newell's shearwater

New Campaign: Protect Hawaiian Seabirds From Lights

In Hawaii the Center began a new campaign this week to reduce nighttime light pollution on Kauai to protect the island's imperiled seabirds.

Hawaiian petrels and Newell's shearwaters are attracted to, and disoriented by, bright nighttime lights. This causes the birds to circle lights at night until they become exhausted and crash, or fall to the ground below the lights, where they're killed by non-native predators, run over by cars or simply die of exhaustion.

To address this problem, we've begun asking private businesses like hotels and shopping centers along the south, east and north shores of Kauai to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to modify their lights and reduce harm.

Read more in our press release.

Stop Pruitt's Latest Assault on Science

Southern resident orca

In December 2017 the National Marine Fisheries Service found that three pesticides commonly used on farms are putting 38 species of salmon, steelhead and sturgeon, as well as Southern Resident killer whales, at risk of extinction.

But rather than take action to protect wildlife, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that the pesticide consultation process is broken. He vowed to reject efforts to restrict pesticide use.

Tell the EPA it must respect the scientific findings and rein in these toxic chemicals.


Wild & Weird: Yellowstone Wolves Slog Through the Snow

It was a long and difficult winter for some — people and animals alike. But if there's one thing Yellowstone wolves and the snow-shovel-wielding humans of the U.S. Northeast have in common, it's tenacity.

Check out this video of two resilient wolves doggedly slogging through Yellowstone National Park's thick snow on Facebook and YouTube.

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Photo credits: Greater sage grouse by Tom Koerner/USFWS; sheepnose mussels by Kristen Lundh/USFWS; snapping turtle by oberazzi/Flickr; Amur leopard courtesy Land of the Leopard National Park; goliath grouper by Brett Seymour/NPS; polar bears at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Susanne Miller/USFWS; Newell’s shearwater by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity; Southern Resident orca by Miles Ritter/Flickr; wolf courtesy NPS.

Center for Biological Diversity
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