How We Plan to Save Wolves

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Wolf
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Join Us Today: Rising Up for Wolves

Ignoring record-breaking opposition from the public and overruling scientists' warnings, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just stripped Endangered Species Act protection from all gray wolves in the lower 48 states (except a small population in Arizona and New Mexico).

We knew this bad policy based on bad science was on its way, and we've been preparing for the next stage of the fight. Now we need you with us.

We're mobilizing to prevent wolves from being shot, trapped and poisoned. Join us later today for our next Saving Life on Earth webinar with Executive Director Kierán Suckling and wolf advocates to learn how you can get involved.

The hour-long webinar starts at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. You have to register to join, so sign up and then check your email for a link.

You can also help by making a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Polar bears

Take Action: Help Save Arctic Refuge From Seismic Testing

The Bureau of Land Management recently issued a destructive proposal for oil and gas exploration on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain. This area is the biological heart of the refuge, home to caribou and polar bears, and sacred to the Gwich'in people.

The plan would allow seismic testing on 450,000 acres of the coastal plain this winter. It would turn the remote landscape into an industrial sacrifice zone and send huge trucks rumbling over sensitive tundra 24/7. The testing could also frighten mother polar bears from their dens, leaving cubs to die — all for dirty oil that needs to stay in the ground.

You can help: Demand that the feds reject this plan and protect the Arctic Refuge.

Snowy plovers

We Sue to Save Rare Snowy Plovers From Off-road Vehicles

In California's San Obispo County, the beautiful shores of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area harbor two kinds of guests that don't coexist easily: small, vanishing shorebirds called western snowy plovers and thousands of motorized vehicles tearing across the beaches.

This summer the Center documented employees of the state's Department of Parks and Recreation interfering with plover nests. Since the area's closure for COVID, these little birds had finally expanded their nest-building into areas usually occupied by loud, destructive vehicles — and Parks Department personnel were busily getting rid of their traces.

When the Dunes were reopened to vehicles this week, more than 4,000 Center supporters wrote to State Parks opposing that move and begging it to keep the small creatures safe. And on Thursday we sued in federal court to force the feds to make the state protect these threatened birds.

Read this blog entry on the plovers, their beach and our ORVs.

Humpback whale

California OKs Rules to Save Whales, Turtles From Crab Gear

Following a Center lawsuit over the dramatic increase in whale entanglements off California's coast, the state just finalized rules to help save endangered whales and sea turtles from deadly encounters with commercial Dungeness crab gear.

Thick ropes connected to heavy crab traps cut into animals' flesh, sap their strength and lead to drowning. Besides causing needless suffering and death, each entanglement of a humpback whale, blue whale or leatherback sea turtle is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Where entanglement risk is high, the state must now close the area to crabbing or take other management actions. Ropeless (or "pop-up buoy") gear can still be used during part of the season in areas otherwise closed to crab gear.

"It's good to see California officials finally taking this seriously," said Center attorney Kristen Monsell. "But we're disappointed they didn't do more to encourage a conversion to ropeless gear — the only way to truly eliminate the threat of entanglement."

If you spoke up for whale protections earlier this year, thank you. You made a difference.

Southern Resident killer whales

Take Action: Give Orcas a Fighting Chance

In 2019 the Center and allies sued the feds to make sure critically endangered West Coast orcas have enough food to survive and recover. Officials have long overlooked salmon fishing's impacts on the whales, and declining salmon runs have left them starving. With two new calves and a newly pregnant whale in the population, it's more important than ever to get these orcas the fish they need.

That's why the Pacific Fishery Management Council needs to hear from you. It's set to finalize new rules that could rein in salmon overfishing.

Tell the council its current proposals don't go nearly far enough, and it must ensure that salmon fishing doesn't hurt orcas.

Border wall and cut-down saguaros

Dispatches From the Border

Contractors have bulldozed a destructive path through all four southern border states to erect Trump's wall, with nearly 400 miles built or replaced under the current administration. Most of the harm was inflicted in the past year, after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed wall construction to proceed despite multiple lower courts having ruled the project's funding unconstitutional.

Arizona, where the Center is headquartered, is bearing the brunt of the damage. Our staff have fought back, organized massive demonstrations, filed protest comments, and worked tirelessly to get the issue the attention it deserves.

Hear directly from some of these dedicated staffers: In a new piece for The New York Times, Laiken Jordahl writes about a year of bearing witness to the devastation. And Hon'mana Seukteoma writes about what the border wall is doing to her O'odham community — and what caring for the land means.

Brown bears at Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest Stripped of Roadless Protection

Alaska's vast temperate rainforest, the Tongass, has been largely safeguarded from new roads and logging development since 2001 by the Clinton administration's Roadless Rule. But as of last Thursday, more than half of it was opened up to road-building and logging by the Trump Department of Agriculture.

The Tongass is the country's largest national forest, home to a rich array of wildlife like wolves, bears and salmon. Its spectacular expanses of old-growth trees are a vitally important carbon sink in the changing climate.

"As sure as the sun rises in the East," said Center Public Lands Director Randi Spivak, "we will sue to keep these magnificent giants standing for centuries to come."

Revelator: 5 Reasons to Rethink the Future of Dams

Dam removal

Human-engineered dams can be highly destructive to river ecosystems. Many of their harms can (eventually) be reversed with removal. But in this era of climate change, asks The Revelator, should we use existing dams to help produce low-carbon hydroelectric power?

Think about these five things and follow The Revelator on Facebook and Twitter.

Bears

Wild & Weird: Mother Bear and Her Cub Take a Bath

The devastating Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains outside Tucson, Arizona, burned more than 119,000 acres of forest and high-desert canyons this summer. But only four months later, life is returning to normal in these wild places.

It's been a rough year. Treat yourself by watching this video on Facebook or YouTube: a mama bear and her rambunctious cub enjoying a morning splash in the mountains above the Center's headquarters.

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Photo credits: Wolf by Tim Rains/NPS; polar bears via Pixabay; snowy plovers by Mick Thompson/Flickr; humpback whale by Ed Lyman/NOAA; Southern Resident killer whale and calf courtesy NOAA; new border wall and cut-down saguaros by Laiken Jordahl/Center for Biological Diversity; bears at Tongass National Forest by Mark Meyers/USFS; dam removal by Julie Donnell/USFS; bears by Greg Joder.

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