Launched: Lawsuit to Save Rare, Comical Birds

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Bi-state sage grouse
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Fight Renewed to Save California and Nevada Sage Grouse

The unique and isolated sage grouse living along the California–Nevada border are down to fewer than 3,500 birds. That's not enough to sustain a viable population.

That's why the Center for Biological Diversity and allies just filed notice of our intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for repeatedly failing to give these bi-state sage grouse Endangered Species Act protection.

The birds are a distinct population of greater sage grouse, famous for their showy plumage and comical mating dances, during which the males inflate and bounce air sacs on their throats.

"For more than a decade, voluntary measures have failed to do enough to help sage grouse survive," said the Center's Ileene Anderson. "Without the legal protection of the Endangered Species Act, multiple threats will just keep pushing them toward extinction."

Get more from YubaNet.

Togo pack former breeding male wolf

New Kill Order Issued for Washington State Wolves

Washington has issued a new order allowing the killing of up to two members of the Togo wolf pack in Ferry County. This may leave the wolf family with just one or two surviving members.

The kill order is out of compliance with the state's own protocols, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife admits it can't confirm that the targeted pack was involved in the calf attack that prompted the order.

Last month the Center petitioned Washington state to adopt enforceable rules requiring nonlethal measures before resorting to killing wolves. "Its irrational rush to kill these wolves shows exactly why Washington needs to create rules to protect the endangered animals. Killing wolves should only be a last resort," said the Center's Amaroq Weiss.

Learn more and support the Center's work to save wolves with a donation to our Wolf Defense Fund.

People's Climate March

Today: A Conversation on the Future of Climate Activism

Join us later today for our next Saving Life on Earth webinar to learn more about the Center's work to avert the climate crisis, the single-greatest threat we've ever faced.

We'll talk about our work to save climate-threatened species and our climate organizing campaigns for a just transition away from fossil fuels. In this moment's historic push for racial justice, we'll also focus on what we're doing to advance climate justice, including through our new Energy Justice program.

The presentation will feature Kassie Siegel, Climate Law Institute director; Ben Goloff, climate campaigner; and Jean Su, Energy Justice program director.

The webinar starts at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. It's free, but you need to sign up.

Big Win: Gila River Saved From Water Project

Gila River

After a battle of 15 years, a proposal to divert water from the Gila River for irrigation in southwestern New Mexico has been defeated. The proposal would have been devasting to the Gila, a stronghold for endangered species and one of the last intact rivers in New Mexico.

Center cofounder Todd Schulke said, "This decision bodes well for all the wildlife and the riverside forest that make the Gila so beloved by many of us."

Get more from Silver City Daily Press.

Formosa Plastics video

Formosa Plastics wants to build a massive petrochemical complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana. It will destroy wetlands, produce enough plastic to make about 1 trillion water bottles per year, and dramatically worsen air and water pollution for local communities of color. Watch our new video on Facebook or YouTube and take action by urging Louisiana's Gov. Edwards to #StopFormosaPlastics.

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

Take Action: Reject Proposed Highway Through Red Cliffs

In southwest Utah, county and state officials are working to plow an unnecessary four-lane highway through the stunning Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. Here the red rocks of the Colorado Plateau meet the plants and animals of the Mojave, and imperiled desert tortoises enjoy some of the most important habitat they have left.

If the "Northern Corridor" is constructed, it'll rip right through these tortoises' homes and cut across protected lands cherished by hundreds of thousands of people. Such reckless suburban sprawl benefits only the insatiable developers who make money from it.

Send a letter to the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service insisting that they reject the Northern Corridor and choose a sensible alternative.

Lawsuit Launched to Save Florida Crayfish

Panama City crayfish

The Center just filed a notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to protect the Panama City crayfish.

This 2-inch-long Florida invertebrate — threatened by habitat destruction, groundwater loss, development and pollution — is essential to its ecosystem. After we petitioned and sued to protect it under the Endangered Species Act, in 2018 the Service finally proposed protection. But now the agency is dragging its feet, so we're stepping in again to defend this tiny crayfish with an outsized role.

Read more.

Revelator: 16 Books on Environmental and Social Justice

Black Lives Matter protest

In honor of Juneteenth, celebrating the end of enslavement in the United States, The Revelator offers reading recommendations on justice topics. These recent books run the gamut from Dina Gilio-Whitaker's look at the history of Indigenous resistance to Youth to Power — about young people fighting the climate crisis — and an activism primer called Engage, Connect, Protect by Angelou Ezeilo.

Check out the list and sign up for The Revelator's e-newsletter.

Ask Dr. Donley: Should I Buy 'Antimicrobial' Face Masks?

Face mask graphic

The Center's Dr. Nate Donley has a new advice column out on nanoparticles (which he found advertised on some underwear he was thinking of buying). Should you buy products for everyday use — like face masks — that claim to have high-tech antimicrobial properties? And will they help ward off COVID-19? Spoiler alert: probably not.

Get the details on Medium.

Barn owlets

Wild & Weird: Barn Owlets Exhibit Rare Sibling Cooperation

New observations of barn owl nests, published in the July 2020 issue of American Naturalist, show that elder owlets will offer their food to younger, smaller siblings in exchange for grooming. This kind of cooperative behavior has been reported in adult nonhuman primates and birds, but rarely among young animals.

"I don't know any other species where you can find it," said Pauline Ducouret, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, in an interview with ScienceNews.

Learn more about these cooperative (and cute) barn owlets.

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Photo credits: Bi-state sage grouse by Jeanne Stafford/USFWS; former breeding male of the Togo pack (photographed June 2018 and killed September 2018 by WDFW) courtesy WDFW; People's Climate March by Alan Greig/Flickr; Gila River by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; Formosa Plastics video by Dipika Kadaba/Center for Biological Diversity; Red Cliffs National Conservation Area by Bob Wick/BLM; Panama City crayfish courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Black Lives Matter protest by Elvert Barnes; face masks graphic via Unsplash; barn owlets by chdwckvnstrsslhm/Flickr.

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