Tragedy in Nevada: 17,000 Rare Plants Destroyed

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Tiehm's buckwheat
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More Than 17,000 Rare Nevada Wildflowers Destroyed

We were heartbroken to learn this week that someone had dug up and destroyed more than 17,000 Tiehm's buckwheat plants. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this summer that the rare wildflower may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

As much as 40% of the flower's global population, which exists on just 21 acres in western Nevada, may have been destroyed.

"This is an absolute tragedy," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Patrick Donnelly.

Tiehm's buckwheat has been the subject of recent controversy. An Australian mining company, Ioneer Corp., has proposed an open-pit lithium mine that would ravage the vast majority of its habitat.

We're calling on government officials to fence the site, provide 24-hour security and rehabilitate damaged plants that survived. Read more and support our work in these important fights.

Georgetown salamander

1,500 Acres May Be Safeguarded for Salamanders

Two rare salamanders living near Austin, Texas, may soon have some of their most important habitat protected.

Following a legal victory by the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service this week proposed 1,519 acres in the Austin area as protected critical habitat for Georgetown and Salado Springs salamanders. Habitat loss and degradation from urban sprawl are pushing both species toward extinction. Because the salamanders are fully aquatic, they rely on clean, well-oxygenated water to survive.

"Protecting the springs these rare and mysterious salamanders call home is the best hope for saving them from extinction," said the Center's Elise Bennett.

Read more.

Mother wolf and pup

Pups Among 570 Wolves Maimed, Slaughtered in Idaho

Newly uncovered documents reveal the ugly truth about wolf management in Idaho.

According to an analysis of records obtained by Western Watersheds Project, hunters, trappers, and state and federal agencies killed 570 wolves in Idaho between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, including at least 35 pups.

Some of the wolves shattered teeth trying to bite their way out of traps; others died of hyperthermia in traps set by the USDA's Wildlife Services. Yet more were gunned down from the air.

This is what the future looks like if wolves lose their federal protection across most of the country — a decision the Fish and Wildlife Service says is "imminent." Read more and support our fight to protect wolves.


Take Action: 'This Is a Climate Damn Emergency'

Fires have ravaged the West Coast, leaving families and whole communities devastated in their wake. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has rightly linked the intensity and severity of these fires to the climate emergency. Yet his state remains one of the top oil and gas producers in the nation and has actually increased oil and gas permit approvals this year.

Despite declaring that "this is a climate damn emergency," Gov. Newsom has given Big Oil the green light for more harmful development, primarily in low-income communities of color.

It's time for Gov. Newsom to walk the talk — to be the climate leader he says he wants to be.

Join us and our allies in urging him to stop fueling the flames by halting new oil and gas permits and phasing out fossil fuels in California.

Red wolf

Need Good News? Join Our Webinar Today

Amid the extinction crisis, climate emergency and pandemic, we can all use some positive news. Join us today for our latest Saving Life on Earth webinar to learn about some major victories we've achieved in the fight for a livable planet.

It's true. Despite all the bad news, we're still scoring significant gains for wild plants and animals this year. We've defeated pipelines, won lifesaving protections for endangered wildlife, and even marked the end of a decades-long battle over a disastrous water grab in the West.

We'd love for you to help us celebrate these victories.

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.

Shasta Dam

Take Action: Stop This Plan to Raise Shasta Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation is attempting to raise the height of Northern California's Shasta Dam to supply water to agribusinesses in the San Joaquin Valley. The enlarged reservoir would drown habitat for endangered animals and plants while passing on much of the $1.3 billion bill to American taxpayers. It's also unnecessary.

The proposal would illegally flood parts of the McCloud River protected by the state's Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and it would inundate sites sacred to the Winnemem Wintu tribe. The project would provide less than .01% of California's annual water budget — an amount that could easily be made up by water conservation and water recycling.

Tell the agency to choose the "no action" alternative, dropping plans to raise Shasta Dam.

Mountain lion

Tell Gov. Newsom: Protect Wildlife From Rat Poisons

Rodenticides don't just kill rodents like rats and mice — they also kill the animals that prey on them, including imperiled species like spotted owls, San Joaquin kit foxes and mountain lions. Recently several of Southern California's big cats have been found dead with multiple super-toxic rat poisons in their bloodstreams.

Fortunately the California state legislature has passed a bill putting a moratorium on general use of the most dangerous rodenticides until state agencies improve safeguards protecting wildlife from them. Now it's up to Gov. Newsom to sign the bill into law.

Tell Gov. Newsom to sign the California Ecosystems Protection Act (A.B. 1788) today.

Coyote pups

Win for the Wild: No More Killing Contests in Washington

Years of advocacy by the Center and allies have paid off: The state of Washington's Fish and Wildlife Commission just voted to ban wildlife-killing contests. It's the seventh state to prohibit hunting contests that allow unlimited killing of coyotes and other wildlife.

The winners of such contests have posted photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead animals, whose bodies are disposed of in "carcass dumps" away from the public eye.

"I'm so grateful the commission has finally banned these cruel, unsportsmanlike competitions," said Sophia Ressler, a Center attorney.

Read more.

Revelator: 10 Wildlife-trafficking Facts You Need to Know

Tiger cub

You may have read that the COVID-19 pandemic was likely a byproduct of wildlife trafficking. But even now this problem doesn't get the media attention it needs — just as its perpetrators rarely get the punishments they deserve. Good thing we have The Revelator to shed light on the issue.

Learn the 10 things you need to know about wildlife trafficking and subscribe to The Revelator's free e-newsletter.

Ask Dr. Donley: How Can I Stay Safe From Wildfire Smoke?

Ask Dr. Donley

None of us need another reason to stay inside. Sadly that's one of the best ways to avoid breathing air made unhealthy by wildfire smoke, says the Center's Dr. Nate Donley in the latest installment of his eco-advice column.

But how do we know if the air is dangerous to breathe? Check your area's air-quality index, or AQI, which accounts for pollutants like smoke's fine particulate matter.

Nate has awesome tips on getting the most accurate AQI info and staying safe from smoke.

Radar image of bats

Wild & Weird: Phoenix's Forecast? A Deluge of ... Bats

The National Weather Service couldn't promise rain for residents of Phoenix, Arizona last Sunday, but it did pick up an enormous "blossoming motion" of Mexican free-tailed bats as they erupted from a tunnel or bridge in the city. The animals in this "bat eruption" may represent a new colony (if not a new precipitation type).

Arizona harbors 28 known bat species. Many Mexican free-tailed bats spend part of the year in the Grand Canyon State and overwinter in Mexico.

Check out the video of the blossoming bats on radar on Facebook and YouTube. Then get details from AZFamily.

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Photo credits: Tiehm's buckwheat by Patrick Donnelly/Center for Biological Diversity; Georgetown salamander by R.D. Bartlett; mother wolf and pup via Shutterstock; wildfire by Skeeze/Pixabay; red wolf by B. Bartel/USFWS; Shasta Dam by Scottb211/Flickr; mountain lion in Joshua Tree National Park courtesy NPS; coyote pups by Jim Kennedy/Flickr; smuggled tiger cub courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Dr. Donley illustration by Cybele Knowles/Center for Biological Diversity; radar image of bats courtesy National Weather Service.

Center for Biological Diversity
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