Victory: Safeguards Won for Cute, Ferocious Carnivore

Endangered Earth: The weekly wildlife update from the Center for Biological Diversity.
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Humboldt marten
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Humboldt Martens Win Endangered Species Act Protection

Humboldt martens are elusive, cat-sized carnivores in the weasel family. Once common in the coastal forests of Northern California and southern Oregon, they were decimated by unchecked trapping and the logging of their forests. Now fewer than 400 remain, in four very isolated fragments.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies have worked for a decade to win protection for these super-cute, super-fierce little predators. And at long last, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Tuesday, they'll be protected as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

"We're perilously close to losing this incredible animal forever," said Quinn Read, our Oregon policy director. "These protections provide a pathway to recovery."

Read more.

Colorado River in Grand Canyon

Take Action: Reject the Proposed Lake Powell Pipeline

Colorado River flows are dwindling due to drought, and climate signals suggest worse times ahead. Yet Utah is pushing a multibillion-dollar scheme to suck the river dry. The proposed Lake Powell pipeline would deliver water to the state's southwest corner, where water-usage rates are more than twice the national average.

The environmental costs would be staggering. The pipeline would cut across public lands between Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the Grand Canyon, fragmenting habitat. And when precious water is drained out of the Colorado River, fish, wildlife and downstream communities will suffer.

Urge federal officials to just say no to this nonsensical, destructive plan.

Green sea turtle

Today: A Discussion on Saving Sea Turtles

With their stunning shells and quizzical faces, sea turtles are ancient creatures that face an array of modern threats.

Join us later today for our next Saving Life on Earth webinar to learn how the Center works to save sea turtles and how you can help. In just the past few weeks, we've celebrated gains in protection for leatherback sea turtles in California and green sea turtle critical habitat on both coasts.

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.

New Mexico jumping mouse

Courtroom Roundup: Of Meadow Mice and Cattlemen

We sued the U.S. Forest Service this week to force it to protect streamside areas in New Mexico's Sacramento Mountains from serial-offender livestock owners grazing their cattle illegally on fragile waterways, which threatens to drive the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse to local extinction.

A couple thousand miles to the east, in the warm waters of Florida and the Caribbean, a once-common reef fish called the Nassau grouper is now far rarer due to climate change and overfishing — so along with allies we launched a lawsuit to force the feds to protect its habitat.

In California we challenged the approval of a luxury development called "Moon Camp" on the shore of Big Bear Lake that would threaten the area's rare, world-renowned pebble-plains habitat, with its unique alpine plants, as well as a beloved pair of nesting bald eagles.

Along with allies we also sued over a massive coal-mining plan being pushed by the Trump administration on public lands in Wyoming and Montana's Powder River Basin. The plan would allow 6 billion tons of coal to be mined over the next 20 years.

Learn more about these lawsuits and our other recent legal work.

The Revelator: Western Wildfires Benefit These Native Species

2013 Rim Fire regrowth

Western forests blackened by wildfire may seem dead. But "there's an absolute treasure trove of life thriving in there," as a biologist interviewed by The Revelator puts it. In fact burned forests are some of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems — and they're valuable habitat for species like flying squirrels, bats, spotted owls and aptly named fire poppies.

Read more and follow The Revelator on Facebook and Twitter.

Southern California mountain lion

California Moves to Limit the Use of Rat Poisons

Rodenticides don't just kill rodents — they also kill the animals that prey on rats and mice, 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 state legislature just passed a bill that puts a moratorium on general use of the most dangerous rodenticides until state agencies develop better safeguards to protect wildlife from them. It's now up to Gov. Newsom to sign the bill into law.

On Crops in Wildlife Refuges, Pesticide Footprint Expands

No Refuge report cover

An updated report from the Center, No Refuge, shows that over the span of just two years, the area sprayed with toxic pesticides on crops in our national wildlife refuges swelled. Between 2016 and 2018, the damaging chemicals were sprayed over 34% more acreage — and there was a more than 70% increase in particularly dangerous pesticides, including dicamba, 2,4-D and paraquat, banned throughout most of the world.

Thanks to the 27,000 of you who signed our petition to end the use of pesticides for agricultural purposes on wildlife refuges.

Learn more.

Los Padres National Forest, California

Fracking, Drilling Fast-tracked on 192 Million Forest Acres

The Forest Service this week proposed to fast-track fracking and drilling across the country's 192 million acres of national forests and grasslands.

Its plan would reduce requirements that the Service approve oil and gas leasing plans, sidestep National Environmental Policy Act review, and limit public involvement before the public lands are leased out for fossil fuel extraction.

"This proposal would basically make the Forest Service a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry," said the Center's Michael Saul. "We face accelerating climate change, fire and drought, and the last thing we should be doing is making it easier to auction off our irreplaceable national forests for destructive drilling and fracking."

Get more from The New York Times.

Power lines, wind farm and lightning

A Tidal Wave of Utility Shutoffs

Across the United States, moratoriums and pledges that have kept electricity flowing to those who can't pay their bills during the pandemic are ending. Millions of people risk losing power just when it's needed most, in a season of climate-induced heatwaves, wildfires and hurricanes.

The Center has been leading the charge on a nationwide campaign to make sure Congress passes a moratorium on shutoffs of our electricity and water. In this article Jean Su, the Center's energy justice director, makes the connection between our fight against utility shutoffs and our fight for clean energy and climate justice.

If you haven't already, send a letter to your senators urging them to include a nationwide moratorium on utility shutoffs in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

Greater sac-winged bat

Wild & Weird: Mother Bats Use 'Baby Talk' With Their Pups

Adult humans often communicate with infants and toddlers using "baby talk," changing their pitch, speed and style of speech to catch and keep a little one's attention.

Baby talk may sound silly, but it plays an important role in helping babies learn language. And it turns out people aren't the only ones who use it.

According to new research from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, mother bats of at least one species in Central and South America modify their pup-directed vocalizations in a bat version of baby talk. These mother-pup vocalizations are markedly different from those between adults.

Pretty cute!

Read more at ScienceDaily.

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Photo credits: Humboldt marten by Mark Linnell/USFS; Colorado River in the Grand Canyon by Nils H./Flickr; green sea turtle by Nicole McLachlan/Wikimedia; New Mexico jumping mouse courtesy USFWS; 2013 Rim Fire regrowth by Don Barrett; Southern California mountain lion courtesy NPS; No Refuge cover report courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Los Padres National Forest by Luis Ramirez/Flickr; power lines, wind farm and lightning by Alan Grinberg/Flickr; greater sac-winged bat by Karin Schneeberger/Wikimedia.

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