Filed: One of the Largest Endangered Species Lawsuits Ever

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Moose
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Breaking: Our Newest Legal Fight — for 241 Species

Just hours ago the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration for failing to decide whether 241 plants and animals across the country should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Our suit is one of the largest of its kind ever filed under the Act and seeks to undo years of flagrant disregard for wildlife laws by the Trump administration.

Among the species in today's suit are moose in the Midwest, spotted turtles in the Great Lakes and on the Eastern Seaboard, a western bumblebee that has declined by 84%, Venus flytrap plants in the Carolinas, and a tiny freshwater fish that flips stones with its nose to find food.

"The Trump administration's ugly contempt for wildlife and the Endangered Species Act threatens our country's entire web of life," said the Center's Noah Greenwald. "Every day protections are delayed is a step closer to extinction for these incredible, irreplaceable species."

Learn more and support this work with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

School lunch

Take Action: Demand Sustainable Dietary Guidelines

When you sit down to eat, you probably don't think about federal food recommendations. But these dietary guidelines shape choices made by millions of Americans each day and affect more than $80 billion in annual federal spending. They're updated every five years — including right now, by the Trump administration.

Although Trump is trying to prevent the advisory committee from addressing sustainability in the update, the committee can still emphasize the importance of diets lower in meat and dairy and higher in plant-based foods. That would bring better choices to school cafeterias and programs for prisoners, seniors, veterans and government employees.

Act now to urge the committee to include sustainability in its dietary recommendations.

Yellow-billed cuckoo

More Than 800,000 Acres of Habitat Protections

In just the past week, Center lawsuits and tireless advocacy won more than 800,000 acres of finalized or proposed habitat protections for endangered species.

On Wednesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed nearly 500,000 protected acres for western yellow-billed cuckoos, including more than 1,200 linear miles in seven states. The migratory songbirds once nested along rivers and streams across the West, but they've disappeared from many areas due to habitat loss and degradation.

The Service also announced that almost 325,000 acres in Mississippi and Alabama will be protected for rare black pinesnakes, whose longleaf pine forests have been reduced to less than 5% of their historic extent.

And 4,000 acres of habitat protections have been proposed for the Florida bristle fern. The unique and dainty plant — which has no roots — is critically threatened by habitat loss from development and sea-level rise.

Pika

Polar bears are often seen as poster children for climate change — for good reason. The charismatic Arctic dwellers depend on dwindling sea ice to survive, and their plight has caught the world's attention. But sadly they're far from the only species at risk of extinction from a warming planet. Watch this new video from The Revelator to meet 10 species threatened by climate change, and then learn more.

Juvenile lake sturgeon

Lawsuits: Rare Jumping Mouse, Texas Toad, Lake Sturgeon

Our legal work this week included three lawsuits to save rare critters.

We sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect critically endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mice. Meadows and streams that the mice call home are being damaged by cows, horses and elk, and the Service isn't stopping the destruction. We're also demanding that the Service finally prepare a recovery plan for the jumping mice.

We also sued the Trump administration for failing to update an inadequate, 35-year-old recovery plan for Houston toads. These critically endangered amphibians are found only in limited parts of their native range in the central coastal region of Texas — fewer than 1,000 adults may remain in the wild.

And we sued the administration again over its delay in deciding whether to protect imperiled populations of lake sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act. Millions of these bony fish once lived in the Great Lakes and Mississippi Basin, but today the population is less than 1% of historic levels.

Learn more about these lawsuits and all our recent legal work.

Petition Filed to Protect 20 Corals

Staghorn coral

The Center has petitioned the feds to provide critical protection for 20 coral species, including a trade ban and new rules against harming them. Although these corals are listed under the Endangered Species Act, they get few safeguards.

"Corals are in a state of crisis, and we're running out of time to ensure their survival," said Kristin Carden, a scientist at the Center. "Emerging science suggests that the world's coral reefs could be gone by the end of the century."

Read more.

Report: 10 States Still Allow Wild Turtle Trapping

Common snapping turtle

A new Center report finds that 10 states still allow unlimited commercial trapping of some or nearly all native turtle species, contributing to the export of hundreds of thousands of wild turtles from the United States each year.

We've been working for years to protect these turtles from collection and trade.

"When turtles are ripped from the wild to meet the voracious demand of international markets, it has profound consequences for wildlife and wild places here at home," said the Center's Elise Bennett. Read more.

Congress Introduces Bill to Save Monarch Butterflies in West

Monarch butterfly

Lawmakers have introduced a bill to save the rapidly declining western population of monarch butterflies. The Monarch Action, Recovery, and Conservation of Habitat Act (MONARCH Act) would provide $25 million a year to support on-the-ground projects and implement an existing conservation plan.

Thank you to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) for introducing the bill. Read more and stay tuned: We'll let you know how you can help get this legislation approved.

Dancing frog

Wild & Weird: 'Foot-flagging' Dancing Frogs

The Western Ghats, a mountain range in India, are home to 24 frog species in the family Micrixalidae. These amphibians are called "dancing frogs" because males wave their feet to attract females during the breeding season. Known as foot-flagging, this gesture may help draw attention to the males' croaks, which unfortunately hardly reach decibels loud enough to compete with the ambient noise of their environment.

Take a look at frog foot-flagging (which looks a little like jazz hands to us) on Facebook and YouTube, and learn more from Nature in Focus.

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Photo credits: Moose by Tom Koerner/USFWS; school lunch courtesy USDA; yellow-billed cuckoo by Seabamirum/Flickr; pika by Kolby Kirk; juvenile lake sturgeon by Rob Holm/USFWS; staghorn coral at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary by Greg McFall/NOAA; common snapping turtle by Jessica Bolser/USFWS; monarch butterfly by lforce/Flickr; dancing frog by Dr. Gururaja K V.

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