Our Plan: Cracking Down on Wildlife Trade

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Our Plan to Prevent Future Pandemics, Curb Wildlife Trade

The Center for Biological Diversity and NRDC released a sweeping action plan this week for the United States to dramatically crack down on wildlife trade, the likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan recommends the United States end live wildlife imports, curtail all other wildlife trade pending stricter rules, and take a global leadership role in controlling the trade.

"If we're going to avoid future pandemics, the United States and other nations need to do their part to stop the exploitation of wildlife," said the Center's Brett Hartl. "The loss of life and other devastating impacts of COVID-19 make it clear that the meager economic benefits of commodifying wildlife are simply not worth the risks."

Get more from The Hill and support our fight against the wildlife trade with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Big Sandy crayfish

Big Win Over Coal Mining for Endangered Species

For almost a quarter-century a legal loophole has let Big Coal operate with little responsibility for the harm its activities cause to endangered species. For the past 10 years, we've been fighting to hold coal-mining companies accountable — and we just won the battle.

In response to a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement agreed to meet with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct. 16 to review coal mining's nationwide impacts on endangered species and ensure it's not risking their survival.

This legal victory rips up a blank check held by the coal-mining industry to pollute and destroy habitat for rare wildlife. And it may help secure new protections for species ranging from endangered crayfish in West Virginia to the Colorado pikeminnow.

Thank you for standing by us during long struggles like these. With your support, we win.

Get more from Morehead State Public Radio.

Deepwater Horizon spill

Take Action: Save the Gulf From Decades of Disasters

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Trump administration is still rubber-stamping fossil fuel projects that'll put people and our planet at risk for decades to come. The latest industry proposal calls for building a massive port off the Texas coast that would ship 2 million barrels of crude oil per day to foreign markets.

This port would process more oil in a day than what's drilled in the Gulf of Mexico in an entire year, accelerating drilling and fracking in the nearby Permian Basin. It would require more than 140 miles of onshore and offshore pipelines, leading to hundreds of spills. It would hurt wildlife, increase pollution and worsen the climate crisis.

Act now to urge the U.S. Maritime Administration to stop this nightmare.


Join Us Today for a Discussion on Meat and Extinction

Meat production is a key driver of the extinction and climate crises. Join us today, Thursday, May 21, for a Saving Life on Earth webinar about our work to protect human health and the environment from the ravages of this powerful industry. The presentation will include the Center's Hannah Connor, senior attorney and factory farm litigator; Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director; and Lori Ann Burd, director of our environmental health program.

We'll talk about COVID-19 and slaughterhouses, the dangers of meat production for wildlife and workers, personal dietary choices, and even the importance of the rise of meatless burgers.

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


The exotic pet trade is a source of disease for both wildlife and people. This billion-dollar industry often removes wildlife from native habitats to ship around the globe — sometimes legally, often illegally — with serious health consequences. Watch this new video on Facebook or YouTube and learn more at The Revelator.

Now you can find all The Revelator's coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildlife trade in one place. Check it out.

Black teatfish

Meet the Black Teatfish

The Center has just petitioned the federal government to protect a kind of sea cucumber called the black teatfish under the Endangered Species Act. Overfishing and wildlife trade have caused rapid population declines — 60-70% across most of the teatfish's range. These unassuming creatures live in tropical reefs and seagrass along the east coast of Africa, west coast of India and islands in between. In Asia they're sold as a delicacy called bêche-de-mer, or trepang. The United States also imports thousands of sea cucumbers a year.

"These incredible ecosystem engineers recycle nutrients and improve water quality, but they're headed for extinction if we don't protect them," said Kristin Carden, an ocean scientist at the Center. "The international community has stepped up to protect them, and now the U.S. needs to help that effort."

Learn more.

Center Op-ed: Stop the Senseless Killing of Wolf Pups

Mexican gray wolf pups

In New Mexico this March, writes the Center's Michael Robinson in the Albuquerque Journal, three wolf pups were gunned down by federal agents, along with a father wolf. It was the worst group killing of Mexican gray wolves since 2006, when a nine-member pack was destroyed in Arizona. And it doesn't help anyone: Studies show that killing wolves doesn't make up for failing to protect livestock from predation.

Wolf management in the Southwest has got to change. Read Michael's op-ed. And if you haven't taken action yet, speak up for these Mexican gray wolves.

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Sign Up for Our Population and Sustainability Newsletter

Did you know the Center is the only major environmental organization that works on population issues? Through creative media, advocacy and public outreach, we raise awareness about runaway human population growth and unsustainable consumption — and how these forces endanger wildlife and wild places.

Join us in this work by signing up for Pop X, the monthly e-newsletter of our Population and Sustainability program. If you sign up today, you'll receive the next issue in your inbox tomorrow.

Ask Dr. Donley: Is Hair Dye Safe?

Hair salon

The Center's eco-advice expert Dr. Donley devotes his latest column to a letter from a hair-dye diehard.

As her roots grow out in quarantine, she asks, "What are the personal and environmental impacts of using hair dye?"

If you're among the 64 million Americans who color their hair, you may want to learn more about the roughly 5,000 chemicals used in hair products and their implications for our health and the planet's.

Frog crossing road

Wild & Weird: The Road Less Traveled ... Could Save Frogs

This year amphibian spring migrations coincide with shelter-in-place orders around the United States, and that could mean good news for those that hop and slink instead of roll. Vehicular traffic can wipe out entire populations of migrating frogs and salamanders — and it has greatly declined in the pandemic. Biologists hope a silver lining in these trying times will be safer travel for road-crossing amphibians.

Read more at The New York Times.

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Photo credits: Wildlife market in Myanmar by Dan Bennett/Wikimedia; Big Sandy crayfish by Derek Wheaton/Enchanting Ectotherms; Deepwater Horizon oil spill courtesy U.S. Coast Guard; cows by
bilgebende_Momente/Pixabay; chameleon by P.A. King/Flickr; black teatfish by Fernando Herranz Martin/Wikimedia; Mexican gray wolf pups courtesy USFWS; Pop X banner courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; hair salon by cottonbro/Pexels; frog crossing road by joosepkuusik/Pixabay.

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