Suit Defends Denning Polar Bears and Cubs
The last thing polar bears need, on top of melting sea ice, is to be frightened by loud, rumbling machinery as they try to raise newborn cubs. So the Center for Biological Diversity and our partners just sued the Biden administration for letting the oil industry disturb Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears.
The Biden rule allows oil and gas companies to harass the bears through broad, intensive industrial activities. For vulnerable young cubs who need time with their mothers, that can be fatal. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s own science says there’s a 95% probability the North Slope’s oil and gas activities will kill polar bears over the regulation’s five-year period.
“President Biden promised bold action to address the climate crisis, yet his administration is allowing business-as-usual oil drilling in the Arctic,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney.
You can help us save polar bears by giving to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Win: Grazing Blocked in Desert Tortoises’ Home
Under an agreement to protect a biodiverse, sensitive area where the Mojave Desert meets the Sierra Nevada, cattle are permanently excluded — they trample and pollute the habitat of threatened desert tortoises and other at-risk species. Yet the U.S. Bureau of Land Management decided to let them graze there anyway — so the Center and allies were forced to appeal. And last week the agency withdrew its decision.
“It’s shocking that we were forced to file an appeal to enforce a permanent retirement of grazing privileges,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior Center scientist. “The plants and animals that depend on the fragile Mojave Desert for their survival need protection now more than ever.”
Poll: Most Arizonans Support Saving Oak Flat
A public-opinion poll shows that 74% of likely Arizona voters oppose a massive mine that would destroy Oak Flat, an Apache sacred site in the Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix. Released Wednesday, the survey also shows opposition to the mine is strong across party lines, as well as among urban and rural residents.
The proposed open-pit copper mine would leave a crater 1.8 miles wide and 1,000 feet deep and dump 1.4 billion tons of toxic waste on thousands of acres of wildlands, home to hundreds of migratory birds and endangered species like ocelots and Arizona hedgehog cactuses.
“Arizonans understand how utterly destructive this mine would be to public lands, groundwater supplies and Native American sacred sites,” said Randi Spivak, the Center’s public lands program director.
Tell Biden: We Need Clean Cars Now
Resort Warned: Kill the Lights That Kill Birds
For more than a decade, bright lights at Maui’s Grand Wailea Resort have hurt endangered Hawaiian petrels by disorienting the seabirds as they navigate between breeding colonies and the ocean. So the Center and our Hawaiian allies have notified the luxury resort that we’ll have to sue to prevent more deaths if it doesn’t fix the light problem soon.
Petrels on Maui are just entering their two-month fledging season — a critical time for adults to return from the ocean to feed their chicks and for fledging chicks to make their way out to sea.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the Grand Wailea’s, to ensure these incredible birds are moving toward recovery, not plummeting into extinction,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center’s Hawai‘i director.
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Revelator: The Ethereal and Declining ‘Tree Tiger’
Isolated on just two islands in southeast Asia, the Sunda clouded leopard is one of the largest of the small wild cats. Unfortunately this tree-dependent feline lives where the world’s being deforested fastest — and its decline isn’t well studied.
Learn more about this beautiful “tree tiger” in The Revelator. If you haven’t already, sign up for The Revelator’s weekly e-newsletter.
That’s Wild: Drunk Elephants and Bear Break-Ins
Wild animals live by their own sets of rules. Sometimes that means they run up against the ones people have made, becoming “criminals” under human law.
Elephants raid homes in Bengal to get drunk on homebrewed fermented rice; bears walk through automatic doors in ski resorts in Colorado to sample the buffet. Sometimes these encounters are funny, but people can also get hurt or even killed — and more often it’s the animals who risk the most in life and limb.
Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, a new book by Mary Roach, takes a deep dive into what happens when animal activities are outlawed in the human world. Check out this interview with Roach at NPR.
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Photo credits: Polar bear mother and cub © Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; desert tortoise by Sandy Redding/Flickr; Oak Flat by Russ McSpadden/Center for Biological Diversity; traffic by Oran Viriyincy/Flickr; Hawaiian petrel by Andre Raine/Kaua'i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project; Mexican gray wolf © Robin Silver/Center for Biological Diversity; Sunda clouded leopard by Christian Sperka/Panthera; Asian elephant by John Boyle/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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