Protection Sought for Hippos
In Africa the future of hippos is uncertain. These iconic animals are under continuous threat from habitat loss and degradation, poaching, and a trade in their teeth, skulls, ivory, skin and meat. So the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies have just petitioned to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.
The United States plays an outsize role in the hippo trade: Over the past decade, it’s imported more of their parts and products than any other country.
“Adored for their yawning jaws and distinctive ears, these monumental animals deserve to thrive in the wild,” said Tanya Sanerib, legal director of our International program. “U.S. protections will help ensure they do.”
Help our fight for species worldwide with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.
Wall Agreement Will Help Restore Borderlands
Following our 2019 lawsuit over the Trump emergency declaration that funneled Defense Department funds into border-wall construction, the Center and allies have reached an agreement with federal agencies. Besides banning military spending on border walls, it calls for funds to restore the borderlands and a study to assess how the wall hurt habitat for wildlife like jaguars, Mexican gray wolves and Mexican spotted owls.
“The wall and its infrastructure have carved a monstrous wound across one of the most biodiverse regions on the continent,” said Brian Segee, a senior Center attorney. “Federal agencies can never erase the damage this destructive wall did, but at least now they can try to heal it.”
Petition Filed for Tiny Virginia Fish
The Center just petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to federally protect the roughhead shiner, an olive-colored minnow found only in one western Virginia watershed.
The 3-inch fish, named for the bumps on its head, lives in the Cowpasture River and its tributary creeks, where invasive telescope shiners are pushing it toward oblivion.
“The roughhead shiner is an emblem of the quiet extinction crisis unfolding in our nation’s rivers,” said Center biologist Tierra Curry. “Endangered Species Act protection will bring a recovery plan to pull it back from the brink.”
Victory for Humpback Whales Off California
On Friday California’s Fish and Wildlife Department announced that the Dungeness crab fishery, which entangles and hurts or kills humpback whales, would close south of the Sonoma/Mendocino border for the year on April 8.
“Humpback whales migrate hundreds of miles to Monterey Bay, and state officials should protect every single one while they’re feeding there. It’s time to get serious about moving to ropeless gear that keeps whales safe off the California coast,” said the Center’s Catherine Kilduff.
Lawsuit Filed Over EPA Delay in Reducing Smog
Along with our partners, the Center just filed a lawsuit under the Clean Air Act to make the Environmental Protection Agency downgrade its smog rating from “serious” to “severe” for eight areas across the country, from Connecticut to California. That downgrade will trigger more protective measures to reduce pollution in those places, home to nearly 50 million people.
Ground-level ozone — commonly called smog — harms the health of people, wildlife and plants.
“The Biden EPA talks a good game, but when it takes a lawsuit to reduce dangerous smog levels, it shows that the polluters, not the scientists, are running the show,” said the Center’s Robert Ukeiley.
Listen and Learn: How Red Wolf Recovery Is Going
After years of litigation and advocacy by the Center and allies, early last month the Fish and Wildlife Service pledged to redouble its efforts to ensure that red wolves make a full recovery in the wild.
As reported in this new public radio piece featuring the Center’s Perrin de Jong, the Service released only two red wolves into the wild this winter — not the promised nine.
“That’s not encouraging,” said de Jong. “The wild population’s recovery relies on a suite of vital recovery initiatives, including coyote sterilization, pup fostering, and establishing new wild populations across the Southeast. We’ll be watching in the coming months to learn how committed the Service is to saving our red wolves.”
Oregon Bans Killing of Rare Sea Stars
Sunflower sea stars — with up to 24 arms and sometimes 3 feet across — have been decimated by sea star wasting disease, worsened by climate change. After the Center petitioned to protect them under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries announced in January that it’s considering federal safeguards.
And now there’s more good news for the ones living off Oregon’s coast: The state just voted to prohibit the harm or killing of these unique and beautiful invertebrates.
Revelator: The World’s First Green Party
Fifty years ago the world’s first “green” political party was born in Tasmania, Australia, when beautiful Lake Pedder was flooded for hydropower. Now there’s new energy behind a movement to restore the lake to its former glory.
Learn more in The Revelator and don’t miss out on the e-newsletter bringing you each week’s best environmental articles and essays.
That’s Wild: Bobcat Gobbles Burmese Python Eggs
Burmese pythons are among Florida’s most destructive invasive species, wreaking havoc on the Everglades and other marsh, swamp and forest ecosystems. These giant constrictors compete so heavily with native animals that they may have helped drive several mammal and bird species extinct.
But new footage from a remote camera shows a bobcat eating as many as 42 python eggs and saving others to return to devour later. The camera even caught a confrontation between the cat and the nesting snake.
Will Florida’s native cats be a critical force against invasive pythons in the Everglades? Only time will tell.
Watch our video of the intrepid bobcat on Facebook and YouTube; read more at the Miami New Times.