A Hopeful New Era Begins

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Slinkard Wilderness Study Area, Calif.
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A New Day

The curtain has closed on the most harmful presidency in U.S. history for wildlife and the environment — and a hopeful new era begins.

The past four years have delivered immeasurable, sometimes irreversible losses. But day in and day out, the Center for Biological Diversity fought for every scrap of life in our power to save — and won battles large and small. Thank you for fighting alongside us.

Within hours of taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden signed executive orders rejoining the Paris Agreement, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline permit, stopping oil and gas leasing at national wildlife monuments, and ending Trump's national emergency declaration enabling new border-wall construction. These commitments show the 46th president is serious about stopping the climate and extinction crises.

But those are just the first steps in a long race to avert catastrophe. Reversing Trump's destructive actions is only the beginning. The good news? We already know how to build back better. Here's one way.

Let's seize the day.

Gray wolf

Suit Filed to Bring Back Protection to Wolves Nationwide

The Center and allies have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to challenge the federal delisting of gray wolves, which stripped them of Endangered Species Act protection across almost all the lower 48 states.

"We hope this lawsuit finally sets our wolves on a path to true recovery," said Collette Adkins, the Center's carnivore conservation director. "Without federal support, their future rests in the hands of state governments, many of which, like Utah and South Dakota, are hostile to wolf recovery."

The Trump administration decision to strip away wolves' protection, which went into effect Jan. 4, ignored both the public's passionate support for wolves and the best science on the species' conservation. It permits trophy hunting and trapping of wolves again in the Great Lakes states — and some, like Wisconsin, are already planning new hunts.

Please — if you're able, make a gift today to our Wolf Defense Fund to help us fight for the wolves' future.

Brown pelican

Suit Filed to Restore Bird Protections Stripped by Trump

The Trump administration radically recast the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act to only apply to corporations' intentional, but not accidental, hurting or killing of birds (such as letting them drown in uncovered oil pits). This reinterpretation of the law eliminated longstanding, vital protections for more than 1,000 species of waterfowl, raptors and songbirds.

So on Tuesday the Center, along with allies, filed a lawsuit to return the Act to its former strength.

"Trump's tenure was a reign of terror for wildlife," said Noah Greenwald, our endangered species director. "The revised rule is nothing but a gift to oil companies and other polluters, allowing them to kill birds without legal consequence. The courts rightfully stopped this farce once before, and we hope this latest suit fully restores legal protection to birds that desperately need it."

Earth

Center for Biological Diversity Joins IUCN as Member

The foremost authority on the status of animal and plant species around the world, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has admitted the Center as an official member. IUCN member groups, from 170 nations, help set the direction of the organization's conservation efforts.

Among its most well-known work is the Red List of Threatened Species, a broad evaluation of the level of imperilment of species across the globe. IUCN experts have assessed more than 120,000 species on the Red List, deeming more than 32,000 to be "threatened with extinction."

"We're very pleased to join IUCN," said Sarah Uhlemann, the Center's international program director. "The Earth is losing about one species every hour. By working with and within IUCN, we'll amplify our call to address the primary drivers of the extinction crisis."

Kaibab Plateau logging

We just caught the U.S. Forest Service logging some of the largest and oldest trees left in the American Southwest: ancient ponderosa pines in Northern Arizona's Kaibab Plateau, perched on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. These forest giants are home to unique species and store massive amounts of carbon, helping curb climate change. Watch our video on Facebook or YouTube — and then take action by telling the agency to leave Kaibab's old-growth trees alone.

Vermilion flycatcher

A River's Plight: Join Us for a Film and Discussion

The San Pedro River, flowing north from Mexico into Arizona, is the largest undammed river in the Southwest. It provides vital habitat to dozens of endangered species and millions of migratory birds. But the river is at a crossroads: A proposed 28,000-home development would bleed it dry.

The Center has teamed up with filmmaker Dina Kagan to create a powerful 13-minute film showcasing the San Pedro's beauty and vulnerability.

Watch the film and join us for a Saving Life on Earth webinar with Dina and the team on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. During the webinar you'll learn more about the San Pedro, our fight to save this riparian jewel, and how you can help.

You need to register to participate in the webinar, so sign up and then check your email for a link.

Lawsuits Challenge Latest Endangered Species Act Attacks

Northern spotted owl

The Center and allies, represented by Earthjustice, just filed two new lawsuits against the most recent regulations undermining the Endangered Species Act, which Trump pushed through in December.

Our first suit challenges the Trump administration's cramped interpretation of "habitat," which deprives protected species of the critical habitat they need to survive and recover. The second argues that the new regulations strip vital protections from federal lands and other areas these species likewise need to escape extinction.

Mountain lion at proposed Northlake site

Win for Southern California Mountain Lions

In response to a Center lawsuit, a judge has issued a ruling blocking a massive development proposed for northern Los Angeles County in fire-prone wildlands. The 1,300-acre Northlake project would have imperiled rare wildlife, blocked a corridor used by imperiled mountain lions, and paved over a pristine stream feeding into the Santa Clara River.

Southern California's big cats suffer from dangerously low genetic diversity caused by lack of connectivity. Roads and developments through their habitat isolate populations, resulting in inbreeding that can lead to reproductive problems, physical defects, increased susceptibility to disease and, ultimately, population extinction.

Revelator: Can Wind Energy Work Without Hurting Species?

Seagull and offshore wind farm

According to a new Revelator article, in the next decade thousands of new wind turbines could pop up in U.S. waters far offshore, with more expected to follow. But as author Tara Lohan says, "Spinning turbine blades on the watery horizon may be a welcome sight in the fight against climate change, but they still come with potential threats to marine wildlife."

Learn how we may surmount the challenges through science and regulatory action. And if you haven't already, sign up for The Revelator's weekly e-newsletter.

Sandhill cranes

Wild & Wondrous: Cranes Fly 5,000 Miles for Winter Vacay

Check out our new video of sandhill cranes from as far away as Siberia and Alaska overwintering in a wildlife refuge in New Mexico. These noisy, lanky birds can live as long as 40 years, and many make the epic 10,000-mile, roundtrip journey dozens of times.

Bonus bird alert: Check out a majestic bald eagle perched above the squawking cranes. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Slinkard Wilderness Study Area, Calif., by Bob Wick/BLM; gray wolf by Charles Higgins/Flickr; brown pelican by fredhochstaedter/Flickr; Earth courtesy Apollo 17; logging on Kaibab Plateau, Ariz., by Joe Trudeau/Center for Biological Diversity; vermilion flycatcher by Dina Kagan; northern spotted owl by Kameron Perensovich; mountain lion at proposed Northlake site by Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority; seagull and offshore wind farm by Neil; sandhill cranes by Amanda Walker/USFWS.

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