Trophy Hunters: Get Out of Our Wildlife Refuges

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Ocelot
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Launched: Lawsuit to Protect Wildlife in Their Refuges

Our national wildlife refuges — public lands and waters set aside to conserve wild animals and plants — have been turned into playgrounds for trophy hunters. An unprecedented expansion of such hunting across more than 2 million acres of national wildlife refuges risks harm to endangered wildlife and puts mountain lions and other important carnivores in the crosshairs.

So on Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the damaging hunting practices.

"We're going to court to ensure that our nation's wildlife refuges can actually provide refuge for wildlife," said Collette Adkins, the Center's carnivore conservation director. "Rare and beautiful animals like whooping cranes and ocelots now face increased risks of poaching, disturbance, ingestion of toxic lead shot and more. It's tragic, and I'm hoping the court will set things right."

Learn more and support our lawsuit with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Mountain lion

Win Protects Vital Corridor for California Mountain Lions

In western Riverside County, the Center and allies won an agreement on Monday to protect a critical movement corridor for mountain lions and other wildlife. The agreement will also fund restoration efforts and launch a regional conservation plan.

Permanently protecting the 55-acre segment of a vital passage will let Santa Ana mountain lions move between coastal and inland mountains. That's key because this population suffers from rock-bottom levels of genetic diversity due to limited connectivity with others of its kind.

"Poorly planned highways and development have hemmed this population in, and these beautiful big cats are being driven toward extinction," said Center attorney J.P. Rose. "Now they have a better chance at survival."

Whooping crane

Take Action — Nationwide Permit Plan Threatens Wildlife

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is poised to renew a permit program that will rush approvals of destructive projects through streams and wetlands nationwide for the next five years. In many cases the permits will let developers simply skip public notice and environmental review and allow projects — including oil and gas development, coal mining, and pipelines like Keystone XL — to devastate ecosystems. This will hurt endangered wildlife, from majestic whooping cranes to unique and colorful American burying beetles.

The Corps plans to renew this program without consulting wildlife agencies, as is legally required, to make sure its cumulative effects don't drive species extinct.

Tell the Corps this is unacceptable. The agency must analyze and make public all projects' harms, not hand out approvals as though consequences don't matter.

Today: Defending 'Scary' Creatures From Frightening Attacks

American burying beetle

With Halloween on the horizon, join us later today for our next Saving Life on Earth webinar, led by Endangered Species Act defense attorney Ryan Shannon. You'll learn about our work to defend the northern long-eared bat, Bone Cave harvestman and American burying beetle from truly frightening attempts to undermine their protection.

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.

Loggerhead sea turtle

New Lawsuits for Wildlife and Wildlands

Three recent Center lawsuits aim to hold the feds accountable for potential harm to species and the places they call home.

We sued the Environmental Protection Agency for approving the toxic new fungicide inpyrfluxam without fully addressing its lethal effects on endangered wildlife.

We sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to assess the offshore oil industry's harm to endangered and threatened wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

And because illegal agency directors make illegal decisions, we sued over the federal government's 1.7-million-acre resource-management plan to expand fossil fuel development in southwestern Colorado — approved during William Perry Pendley's unlawful tenure directing the Bureau of Land Management.

Learn about these lawsuits and our other recent work.

Why the Fight for Wolves Matters

Wolf

Since gray wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1974, an ongoing battle has been fought for their recovery on both federal and state levels. This fight is far from over: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is poised to deliver on its promise to remove wolves' federal protection. But the move flies in the face of science and public opinion alike, and we're not giving up.

Learn more from Center wolf advocate Amaroq Weiss about why we fight for wolves — and how we win.

Eastern box turtle

South Carolina Is a Safer Place for Native Turtles

The Center has been working for years, state by state, to stop the dangerous and devastating harvest and selloff of freshwater turtles across the country. Hundreds of thousands of these vulnerable wild creatures are exported from the United States every year for the Asian food and medicinal markets and the pet trade.

This week we and our allies had great news out of South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill banning commercial trade of native turtles.

"We're thrilled South Carolina has taken this meaningful step," said the Center's Elise Bennett. "This law will raise the state out of a morass of turtle trafficking and make it a safe haven for wild turtles."

Young Environmental Justice Leader Gets Rose Braz Award

Nalleli Cobo

The Center has awarded the 2020 "Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism" to Nalleli Cobo, who's fought powerful polluters since she was nine. Cobo grew up in South-Central Los Angeles near an oil well that was making her community sick. She helped shut it down, mobilizing the People Not Pozos (Wells) campaign. A leading activist in Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-L.A.), she also cofounded the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition, which — with the Center and Youth for Environmental Justice — sued Los Angeles for environmental discrimination. And that's not nearly all.

Revelator: A Search-and-rescue Mission for Fallen Songbirds

Wood thrush

Ecologist and activist Lisa Horn has devoted herself to identifying the shocking number of beautiful songbirds, many rare, who crash into buildings and die. Some she finds and rescues; others are beyond help. But her goal of saving as many birds as possible is as inspiring as her moving essay is sad.

Read it in The Revelator — and don't forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter.

African wild dogs

Wild & Weird: Painted Wolves Vote by Sneezing

When painted wolves — also called African wild dogs — need to decide as a group whether it's time to depart for a hunt, they vote ... by sneezing. Every wolf is eligible to vote, and the pack won't leave until a minimum number of sneeze-votes has been cast.

A critical election is happening in the United States right now. Be like a painted wolf and vote! (But use your ballot, not a sneeze.)

Watch our video about how African wild dogs do democracy on Facebook or YouTube.

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Photo credits: Ocelot by mtsofan/Flickr; mountain lion courtesy NPS; whooping crane by Brian Ralphs/Flickr; American burying beetle by Doug Backlund/SD Game, Fish & Parks; loggerhead sea turtle by G.P. Schmahl/NOAA; wolf by Tim Rains/NPS; eastern box turtle by happylittleclouds/Flickr; Nalleli Cobo by Susana Capra; wood thrush by Michael Schraam/USFWS; African wild dogs by kycheng/Flickr.

Center for Biological Diversity
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