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Humpback whale
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Marine Species Recovering Under Endangered Species Act

Friday is Endangered Species Day, and here's reason to celebrate: A new study by Center for Biological Diversity scientists finds that most marine mammals and sea turtles protected by the Endangered Species Act are recovering.

The best available population data for 23 marine mammals and nine sea turtles shows that 78 percent of them — including most large whales, Florida manatees, California sea otters and green sea turtles — experienced substantial population increases after being protected by this landmark federal law.

"The Endangered Species Act works," said Dr. Abel Valdivia, the Center's ocean scientist and lead author of the study. "It's easy to get discouraged as we watch human activities destroy marine ecosystems. But our study shows we can still save whales and other endangered species if we just make the effort."

Read more in our press release and be sure to check out Abel's first-person piece on Medium.

Lake sturgeon

Protection Sought for Giant, Iconic Lake Sturgeon

Lake sturgeon, ancient inhabitants of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system, can live more than 100 years and grow longer than 8 feet. But these freshwater giants have declined by 99 percent over the past century due to overfishing, dams and pollution — so on Monday the Center petitioned for their Endangered Species Act protection.

Restoration efforts are underway to bring sturgeon back to the rivers and streams where they once spawned, but more help is needed: Depleted sturgeon populations take many decades to recover, and the vast majority of spawning runs have been lost.

"We can barely imagine how abundant these great fish once were," said the Center's Marc Fink. "We need to take action to save them now."

Read more in Peoria's Journal Star.

Indiana Withdraws Plan for Bobcat Hunt — Thank You

Bobcat

Thousands of people in Indiana spoke up — including Center members — and the state wildlife commission listened. On Tuesday the board withdrew its plans to create a hunting season for bobcats. Thanks to everyone who raised their voices for these bobcats earlier this year.

"The state heard loud and clear that people value these cats in the wild and don't want them cruelly trapped or shot," said the Center's Collette Adkins. "We're so relieved."

Read more.

Polar bears

10 Years of Polar Bear Protection

This week marks 10 years since the Center's historic Endangered Species Act petition to protect polar bears from climate change was heeded — a groundbreaking move both for the bears and for legal strategy in the fight to stave off the most catastrophic effects of global warming.

These iconic animals were also granted 120 million acres of protected "critical habitat," the largest designation in history. Yet a political move to exempt greenhouse gas emissions from regulation under the Act — a rule enacted by President George W. Bush and perpetuated by President Barack Obama — has kept the most important threat to the bears from being tackled.

"
Polar bears need our help," says our Climate Law Institute Director Kassie Siegel, who authored the petition. "To save them we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and move far more quickly to decarbonize. By the 20th anniversary it will be too late."

Learn about our pioneering work to save polar bears.

Harmful Hawaii Fishery Closed to Save Sea Turtles

Loggerhead sea turtle

As a result of a lawsuit by the Center and allies, the National Marine Fisheries Service has shut down Hawaii's longline fishery for the rest of 2018 to protect endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

Sea turtles can be fatally injured or drown when they get hooked by or entangled in the fishery's walls of nearly invisible lines and hooks.

"Sea turtles could go extinct if deadly longlines aren't better regulated," said the Center's Miyoko Sakashita.

Get more from Hawaii News Now.

Wendsler Nosie Sr. and Kieran Suckling

Wendsler Nosie Sr. Gets Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism

The Center has awarded its first annual "Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism" to Wendsler Nosie Sr., a former chairman and councilman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. An elder, spiritual leader and activist, he has fought for decades for American Indian rights and tribal sovereignty, protection of sacred places and religious freedom.

Rose Braz dedicated her life to strengthening ties between environmental, social-justice, labor and faith organizations. Before joining the Center to lead our climate work, she was a renowned human-liberation activist working to abolish the prison-industrial complex.

"Rose always encouraged us to be bold and fight for what's right and true," said Kierán Suckling, the Center's executive director. "She never backed down from a daunting challenge. Wendsler perfectly embodies that spirit."

Read more in our press release.

Tiny Texas Cactus No Longer Endangered

Tobusch fishhook cactus

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week changed the designation of the central Texas Tobusch fishhook cactus from "endangered" to the less-dire "threatened." The change reflects the cactus' progress toward recovery under the Endangered Species Act.

The cactus is found in specialized micro-habitats in oak woodland savannahs of the Edwards Plateau in central Texas. When the species was first protected in 1979, only roughly 200 individuals were known from just four sites. Today there are 12 populations, totaling more than 4,500 cacti within eight counties. Read more.

Red wolf

A Desperate Race to Save Red Wolves

In North Carolina a race is on to save the world's rarest wolves — and the key may be the ongoing effort to breed them in captivity, which has already saved the species from extinction once.

That breeding program had a success last month, when a female red wolf gave birth to three pups in captivity. Four days later, though, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the wild population of red wolves had crashed to about 40 individuals (down from 120 in 2013). Can the captive population keep up with the wild decline?

The Revelator explores the plight of red wolves and their crucial captive-breeding program.

Child with nebulizer

Stop Pruitt's War on Science

Scott Pruitt is waging a vicious war on science. This time he's attempting to limit the kinds of studies the EPA can use to make policy. Some studies — which show an increase in respiratory infections for kids after exposure to soot from the burning of fossil fuels, as well as neurological problems when exposed to certain pesticides — involve participants whose identity and health histories are rightly protected by HIPAA laws.

Under the Pruitt EPA's proposed rule, because that "raw data" isn't made public, these vital studies could no longer be considered when regulating pollutants.

Act now to tell the EPA to oppose this industry-friendly rule. It would achieve the exact opposite of transparency by directing the agency to ignore key studies at the discretion of Pruitt himself.

Jaguarundi

Wild & Weird: The Obscure Borderlands Cat Few People Know

Jaguarundis are rare, enigmatic felines slightly larger than housecats that have a historical range as far north as southern Texas. With long necks, short legs and elongated tails, they look like a cross between a cat, an otter and a weasel and are often active during the day.

The species is protected under the Endangered Species Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has authored a recovery plan that calls for their reintroduction to the thickets and grasslands of the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. That will offer connectivity between jaguarundi populations south of the U.S.-Mexico border — an important step for genetic health.

Watch this cool cat roar on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

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Photo credits: Humpback whale by Thomas Kelley/Unsplash; lake sturgeon courtesy USFWS; bobcat by Shenandoah National Park/Wikimedia; polar bears by Alan D. Wilson/Nature's Pics Online; loggerhead sea turtle by Matt Kieffer/Flickr; Wendsler Nosie Sr. and Kier
án Suckling courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Tobusch fishhook cactus by Suleyman Demir/Wikimedia; red wolf by Valerie/Flickr; child with nebulizer by Kittichet/iStock; jaguarundi (c) Mystery Box.

Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 710
Tucson, AZ 85702
United States