Trump Administration Unveils Its Latest Extinction Plan

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Trump Administration Takes Aim at Endangered Species Act

They're at it again: Trump administration officials issued a new proposal Friday to severely limit the government's ability to protect the habitat that rare and vanishing animals and plants need to survive and recover.

This latest administration attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act focuses on a crucial aspect of the law that protects "critical habitat" for threatened and endangered species. The new proposal limits protections for habitat that could currently support the species — but not areas that could be restored or safeguarded to provide more habitat for recovery.

"It's appalling to see the Trump administration slashing away at habitat protections," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Noah Greenwald. "This will have real life-and-death consequences for some of our nation's most vulnerable wildlife."

Read more in The New York Times and consider donating to our fight to protect the Endangered Species Act.

Brown-headed spider monkey

Take Action: Save Ecuador's Los Cedros Cloud Forest

Reserva Los Cedros in Ecuador is a true biodiversity gem. This cloud forest is home to around 200 imperiled species, from spider monkeys and jaguars to rain frogs and orchids found nowhere else on Earth.

But in 2017 the Ecuadorian government granted two foreign companies mining permits covering 68% of Los Cedros. If mining exploration proceeds, it'll tear down forests, bring destructive roads, and pollute the area's pristine rivers with sediment.

Ecuador's highest court has taken up the case. It will soon decide whether the country's constitution — which uniquely recognizes the "rights of nature," applies — and whether the government must consult local and indigenous peoples before moving forward.

Join us in telling the mining companies to back off, and urge Ecuador's government to withdraw all mining permits in Los Cedros and the country's other protected forests.

Brown-belted bumble bee

Feds Urged: Stop Rubber-stamping Beehives on Public Lands

The Center and allies have just filed a legal petition urging the U.S. Forest Service to stop rubber-stamping approval for commercial honeybee hives on national forest lands. Honeybees aren't native to the United States. Although they're important crop pollinators, out in nature they pose real risks to native bees, outcompeting them for flowers and spreading disease.

Yet in the past 10 years the Forest Service has approved permits for at least 900 hives, housing millions of honeybees, on the Colorado Plateau alone. It's now weighing adding 4,900 more hives on a single Utah national forest.

"I'm sympathetic to the plight of honeybee keepers whose bees and livelihoods are imperiled by pesticides," said the Center's Lori Ann Burd. "But we can't let commercial honeybees threaten the continued existence of imperiled native bees."

Get more.

California condor

It's summer and baking hot in Arizona, so to stay cool this California condor is taking a dip in a creek in the Grand Canyon. California condors are the largest flying birds in North America and among the most imperiled species on the planet. Watch the video on Facebook or YouTube, and check out this essay by the Center's Noah Greenwald on how these magnificent birds were brought back from the brink of extinction by the power of the Endangered Species Act.

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Filed: Lawsuits for Public Lands in Alaska and Minnesota

This week we filed two lawsuits against the Trump administration in defense of public lands.

On Tuesday we sued over its approval of an industrial gravel road that would cut through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, slice through one of the world's longest wildlife migration paths, cross nearly 3,000 rivers and streams, dam tundra wetlands, and interrupt traditional Alaska Native ways of life — all to access new mining.

On Wednesday we sued over a decision to renew prospecting permits that could let the Twin Metals corporation significantly expand a proposed sulfide-ore copper mine at the edge of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The most visited wilderness area in the United States, Boundary Waters offers quiet recreation, pristine lakes and streams, and astounding wildlife habitat.

Check Out Our Summer Membership Newsletter

Summer 2020 newsletter cover

This summer's Endangered Earth, the Center's print newsletter, is now available online. Read about our recent work worldwide, from winning 500,000 protected acres for western yellow-billed cuckoos to our lawsuit to protect hammerhead sharks in Mexico. Also in this issue: pandemics and wildlife, the fight to protect 30% of land and water by 2030, and an overview of our sweeping Saving Life on Earth campaign.

We make this members-only newsletter available to online supporters to thank you for taking action — but please consider becoming a member today and helping even more. Just call us toll free at 1-866-357-3349 x 323 or visit our website to learn more and donate.

Alaska brown bear

Biodiversity Briefing: Saving Alaska's Wildlife Refuges

In our latest quarterly "Biodiversity Briefing" phone call, Executive Director Kierán Suckling discusses the inhumane tactics being used right now on Alaska's wildlife refuges, from steel-jaw leghold traps to shooting bears from airplanes. The Center is countering this cruelty through grassroots activism and legal action.

These personal phone briefings, including Q&A sessions, are open to all members of the Center's Leadership Circle and Owls Club. For information on how to join and be invited to participate live on the calls, email Development Associate Joe Melisi or call him at (520) 867-6658.

Listen to — and watch — the briefing for yourself.

The Revelator: Tiny, Tropical Glassfrog Rediscovered

Mindo glassfrog

On a recent trip to the Ecuadorian rainforest, a Tucson biologist got sick and skipped a survey session to wander near a stream beside his camp — where he found a translucent-skinned frog that had only been seen once before since 1984. It was a Mindo glassfrog, calling for a mate. And it's just one of many unique species researchers have found in a remote habitat — all of which could be wiped out by mining.

Read the story and sign up for The Revelator's e-newsletter.

Coral reef

Climate Study Predicts Disaster for Oceans

A disturbing new study, writes the Center's Miyoko Sakashita in an op-ed, predicts global temperature increases up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit.

That much warming would spell disaster for oceans and coasts. Coral reefs would die, ocean biodiversity would plummet, storms would pummel coastal communities, and acidification and hypoxia would dangerously shift the building blocks of marine life. We can't wait any longer, writes Miyo, to stop drilling and mining for fossil fuels in our public lands and waters.

Read the op-ed in The Hill.

Pond frog

Wild & Weird: This Hardy Beetle Takes the Anus Way Out

According to a new study, the aquatic beetle Regimbartia attenuata can survive being swallowed by a frog by moving down its digestive track, possibly stimulating its defecation reflex, and escaping to the free world through the frog's anus.

In an experiment conducted more than a dozen times, 93% of swallowed beetles were excreted alive, albeit covered in poop.

Is this a metaphor for surviving 2020? We like to think so.

Read more at LiveScience.

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Photo credits: Pika by Daniel Arndt/Flickr; brown-headed spider monkey (c) Dr. Bitty Roy; brown-belted bumblebee by Jesse Christopherson/Flickr; California condor courtesy NPS; Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve by Zak Richter/NPS; Endangered Earth Summer 2020 newsletter with pangolin photo by David Brossard; Alaska brown bear by Pam Link/Flickr; Mindo glassfrog by Ross Maynard; coral reef by Marek Okon/Unsplash; pond frog by tanaka_juuyoh/Flickr.

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