Victory for the World's Most Endangered Whales

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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North Atlantic right whales
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

A Win for Right Whales Hurt by Lobster Fishing

Right whales — so called because they were once thought the "right whales" to kill — are the rarest whales in the world. Only about 400 North Atlantic right whales remain.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies just won an important victory for this rapidly declining population. A court said the National Marine Fisheries Service acted illegally by not taking steps to protect the whales from entanglement in commercial lobster lines, which cause injuries and death.

"Right whales have been getting tangled up and killed in lobster gear for far too long," said Kristen Monsell, the Center's oceans legal director. "This decision sends a clear signal that federal officials must protect these desperately endangered animals."

Read more in The New York Times and consider supporting this work by making a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Basking turtles

Today: Join Our Discussion on Salamanders and Turtles

The fate of turtles, salamanders and other often-exploited species is the focus of today's Saving Life on Earth webinar at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET.

The brutal international wildlife trade is getting a lot of attention because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we shouldn't forget that wildlife trade and exploitation happen on a vast scale here in the United States, too.

Sign up to join the Center's experts later today for a discussion about the domestic wildlife trade.

Cow

Stop the Use of COVID-19 Funds to Bail Out Factory Farms

More than 50 organizations called on Congress this week to stop factory farms from getting COVID-19 relief funds — an expected $23.5 billion in stimulus money for food and agriculture.

In our letter the Center and allies urged Congress to direct these funds to small and mid-size farmers instead of Big Ag, to protect food- and farmworkers, and to reject rollbacks of environmental regulations. This is not the time to double down on the unsustainable food policies driving climate change and extinction.

This is urgent. Will you take a minute now to speak up?

Tell Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to ensure this funding benefits people and communities, not multinational corporations and polluting agribusinesses.

Smokestack

Take Action: Stop Coronavirus Handout to Big Oil

The fossil fuel industry is trying to cash in on the U.S. government's efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Already it's lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency to drop all pollution controls, pushed forward harmful pipelines like Keystone XL, and tried to get out of providing healthcare for sick workers.

Now it's vying to direct hundreds of billions of COVID-19 relief dollars to coal and oil and gas companies. And it's asking for $3 billion of federal money to stock up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, even though we already face an oversupply.

Tell your senators: Focus future legislation on stopping the pandemic, helping people in need and protecting our environment — not bailing out Big Oil.

Federal Court Invalidates Key Permit for Keystone XL

Oil pipes

On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law when it approved a permit critical for TC Energy's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and many other pipelines nationwide. This ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Center and allies in 2019.

"This is a tremendous victory for frontline communities and imperiled wildlife that rely on rivers, streams and wetlands," said Center attorney Jared Margolis.

Get more.

Pika

Pikas are small, mountain-dwelling mammals with the body of a guinea pig, the face of a rabbit, the ears of Mickey Mouse, and the voice of a squeaky toy. They use vocalizations for individual recognition, predator warning signals, territory defense, and mate attraction.

Listen to (and watch) the call of the pika in our new video on Facebook and YouTube.

Joshua Trees Move Toward California Protection

Joshua tree

Responding to a Center petition, this week California recommended advancing western Joshua trees toward protection under the state's Endangered Species Act. Climate change could wipe out these unique, spiky plants, which are already failing to reproduce at drier, lower elevations.

"We're elated that Joshua trees are a step closer to protection," said Brendan Cummings, the Center's conservation director and a Joshua Tree resident. "The California Endangered Species Act may be the only hope for saving these iconic symbols of the Mojave Desert." Read more.

Chinook salmon

Oregon Coast Salmon Move Closer to Protection

Responding to a petition the Center and our allies submitted last year, this week the National Marine Fisheries Service announced it will consider Endangered Species Act protection for spring-run Chinook salmon on the Oregon coast.

Spring Chinook, genetically distinct from their fall-run relatives, return from the ocean to freshwater rivers in spring, staying for many months in deep pools until they spawn in the fall.

"Spring Chinook are truly the king of salmon, but they still need our help to survive," said the Center's Jeff Miller.

Read more in our press release.

The Revelator: Be a Backyard Naturalist

Goldfinch

So you're stuck at home. But that doesn't have to mean inside. Where mental health is concerned, a little nature goes a long way — and there are ways almost all of us can enjoy at least a bit of the wild. Check out our new Revelator guide to being a backyard (or front-yard, side-yard or window-box) naturalist.

And if you haven't already, sign up for The Revelator's newsletter. Every Thursday you'll get a list of new stories and essays, as well as "The Wild 5," a roundup of conservation headlines from around the world — a bonus for subscribing.

Howling wolf

A Daily Wolf Howl of Solidarity

In response to COVID-19 lockdowns, in some parts of the United States neighbors are stepping out of their homes to wolf-howl together in an act of community. It's a nod of honor to the power and expressiveness of the voices of wolves.

In the Northern California town of Sebastopol, this ritual occurs at 8 p.m. every evening. "It's cathartic and strangely soothing to howl, and it gives a sweet sense of community during this weird, weird time," said participant Denise Meier.

"Howling is a way for us to come together at this time and give our appreciation to the workers and to let others know that we're thinking about them and have them in our hearts," said Sarah Field.

Get more from Sonoma West Times & News.

Instagram challenge

Join Our #EarthWeekNatureSeek Instagram Challenge

Earth Day looks very different this year, with festivals cancelled and events moved online. Even though we need to be cautious when we go outside, the natural world's still vital to our physical and mental wellbeing.

The Center's Population and Sustainability program invites you to participate in an Instagram challenge during Earth Week. Our goal is to encourage people to create, discover and share the artsy side of their connection to Earth. Check out our Crowded Planet Instagram account for rules and prompts. Each day from April 20-24, we'll post a themed prompt to inspire you. The first 10 people to meet the challenge each day will win a pack of Endangered Species Condoms.

Wolf

Wild & Wonderful: Wolf Licks Camera

Watch a wild wolf lick the lens of a remote camera in Yellowstone National Park in our new video on Facebook and YouTube. It's almost like getting licked on the face. But with social distance.

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Photo credits: North Atlantic right whales courtesy NOAA; basking turtles by Anrietta_Titova/Pixabay; cow by Ryan McGuire/Pixabay;
smokestack by SenorCodo/Flickr; oil pipes by Lindsey G/Flickr; pika video still courtesy National Park Service; Joshua tree by Christopher Michel/Flickr; Chinook salmon courtesy NOAA; goldfinch by Beau Considine; howling wolf courtesy PickPik; Instagram challenge graphic courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; wolf video still courtesy Yellowstone National Park.

Center for Biological Diversity
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