A Bold Plan to Save Our Monarch Butterflies

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Monarch butterfly
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100+ Groups Call for $100 Million to Save Monarchs

Despite these challenging times, our work to save species and wild places continues.

The Center for Biological Diversity and more than 100 allies called on Congress this week to significantly increase funding to save monarch butterflies — to $100 million a year. The investment is needed to restore 1 million acres of milkweed and pollinator habitat and increase monarchs' resilience to habitat loss, pesticides, severe weather and climate change.

The latest count of monarchs overwintering in Mexico — about 99% of all North American monarchs — showed a 53% decrease since last year. These beautiful butterflies have also lost about 165 million acres of U.S. breeding habitat to herbicide spraying and development.

"Monarchs have captured the hearts of Americans for generations," said the Center's Stephanie Kurose. "Their collapse would be devastating."

Read more and consider making a donation to support our campaign to save monarchs.


It's Time to Ban Wildlife Trade

In the past 40 years, the worst human pandemics and epidemics — HIV, SARS, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola and Zika — all stemmed from trading or consuming animals and destroying their habitat.

The solution couldn't be clearer as we face this pandemic: We must ban wildlife trade to reduce disease risk and save animals from overexploitation.

But when asked, last week, if banning wildlife trade is a priority, President Trump just shrugged. That's the wrong response.

The Center has been fighting the international wildlife trade for years through our International Program. Learn more.

Air pollution

EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Rules

Following a request from the American Petroleum Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency just announced its decision to suspend enforcement of certain environmental laws and regulations during the coronavirus outbreak. This sweeping new directive gives industry free rein to violate clean-air and water laws with little consequence.

A coalition of environmental groups, including the Center, sent a letter to the agency objecting to this extraordinarily cynical move.

Learn more. And if you haven't already, tell the EPA to reverse course and keep enforcing the laws intended to keep our air and water clean.

Southern resident orca hunting salmon

Bring Down These Dams to Save Salmon and Orcas

Salmon are the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest, sustaining jobs, communities and the natural world around them. They're a critical food for more than 100 species, including endangered West Coast orcas, which are starving from lack of prey.

The Columbia and Snake rivers were once the greatest salmon rivers on Earth. But more than half their salmon habitat is now permanently blocked by dams.

Federal, tribal and independent scientists concluded years ago that the best way to restore Northwest wild salmon is to remove four dams from the lower Snake River.

You can help: Urge federal officials to bring down these dams.

Exhaust pipe

Trump Administration Cripples Effort to Curb Car Pollution

In a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry, on Tuesday the Trump administration finalized a sweeping rollback of automobile fuel-efficiency standards. The rollback will lead to more air and climate pollution and cost consumers more at the gas pump — without making the nation's roads any safer.

"It's shameful that Trump pushed this through during a pandemic that's particularly risky for people with asthma and other health problems linked to dirty air," said the Center's Maya Golden-Krasner.

Get more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Feds Withhold Sage Grouse Safeguards

Sage grouse

The Trump administration just denied protection to highly imperiled sage grouse on the California–Nevada border. In response to a petition and a decade of legal action by the Center and allies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to protect bi-state sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Without action these fascinating "dancing" birds will disappear due to habitat destruction from livestock grazing and other threats.

Read more.

Ask Dr. Donley: The Touchy Subject of Toilet Paper

Ask Dr. Donley logo

In his latest advice column, the Center's Dr. Nate Donley takes on the question of why more toilet paper — recently come to be worth its weight in gold — isn't made from recycled paper.

Did you know the extra softness that TP purveyors tout comes from the extra-long fibers of freshly clear-cut trees, many from the beautiful boreal forests of Canada?

Check out Nate's column at the Center's Medium page.

The Revelator: This Is the Year to Save Freshwater Species

Comb-crested jacana

Lying below the surface of rivers, streams and lakes, the damage we've done to freshwater ecosystems isn't usually obvious. That may be why we're losing freshwater species faster than any others. As The Revelator reports, a new study lays out everything we need to do to save them — but we need to act soon. This year global leaders are due to discuss the two global frameworks central to the study's plan of action. Will they rise to the challenge?

Read more and check out The Revelator on Facebook and Twitter.

Center Op-ed: How Feed for Beef Cows Dries Out Our Rivers


New on Medium, the Center's sustainable-food expert Dr. Jennifer Molidor looks at a recent study on how irrigating feed crops hurts ecosystems. Feeding the cattle for our burger-heavy diets sucks water from rivers and drives species toward extinction — both in the American West and around the world.

Check it out.

Mazama pocket gopher

Wild & Watchable: Mazama Pocket Gopher

Washington's Mazama pocket gophers are stocky rodents, up to 11 inches in length, with short necks, powerful limbs and extravagant claws for digging. They get their name from the pockets in their cheeks, which they stuff full of vegetation to carry back to their burrows. Pocket gophers play an important role aerating soils and stimulating plant growth, which helps maintain species diversity in native prairies.

In 2014 the Center won Endangered Species Act protection for these imperiled creatures and more than 1,500 acres of their prairie habitat.

Check out rare footage of a Mazama pocket gopher on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Monarch butterfly by Teddy Llovett/Flickr; pangolin by Brett Hartl/Center for Biological Diversity; air pollution by Ralf Vetterle/Pixabay; Southern Resident orca hunting salmon courtesy Oregon State University; exhaust pipe by Andrew Turner/Flickr; sage grouse courtesy USFS; comb-crested jacana by Geoff Whalan; cows by Lomig/Unsplash; Mazama pocket gopher courtesy WDFW.

Center for Biological Diversity
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