White fringeless orchid
Center for     Biological     Diversity   

Protection at Last for a Rare Orchid

Flower lovers rejoice: A 2-foot-tall orchid surviving in small populations in just six southeastern states has finally been protected under the Endangered Species Act. The white fringeless orchid -- first identified as needing federal protection in 1975 -- is sometimes also called "the monkey-face orchid" because its flower looks like a monkey's face.

This incredible plant is at risk from global climate change, which -- besides threatening its habitat with drought -- also threatens the fungus and pollinators it needs to survive. The plant was protected as part of the Center for Biological Diversity's landmark agreement to spur protection decisions for 757 imperiled animals and plants around the country.

"I'm breathing a sigh of relief that this beautiful flower has at long last gained protection after a 41-year wait," said the Center's Tierra Curry.

Read more in our press release.

Red wolves and pups

Feds Drastically Cutting Back Red Wolf Recovery

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week it will drastically limit the recovery area for red wolves to one military bombing range and a wildlife refuge in Dare County, N.C., but hopes to identify new sites for wolf introductions and double the number of captive-breeding pairs. The agency's long-delayed announcement came after it stated in June 2015 that it was suspending red wolf reintroductions into the wild while it re-evaluated the feasibility of the species' recovery program.

"It's good the Service is acknowledging that we need more breeding pairs and new reintroduction sites to spur red wolf recovery," said the Center's Jamie Pang. "But we're extremely disappointed in the agency's highly political decision to confine red wolves to only federal public lands."

Check out our press release.

Massive California Coast Development Stopped

Burrowing owl

After intensive advocacy by environmental groups -- including the Center -- and local community members, California's coastal commission last Wednesday voted to deny a controversial proposal to develop one of the largest open private parcels of land remaining on the Southern California coast.

The Newport "Banning Ranch" project would've built about 900 homes, a hotel and shops on an Orange County oilfield overlooking the Pacific Ocean -- a site that, though damaged by decades of oil extraction and development, remains a crucial refuge for wildlife, including burrowing owls.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Center for Biological Diversity staff

Center staff gathered this week in a show of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Read more in a statement from the Center’s executive director, Kierán Suckling, and sign our petition to stop the pipeline.

Lesser prairie chicken

Emergency Protections Sought for Southwest Dancing Bird

The Center, WildEarth Guardians and Defenders of Wildlife have petitioned to protect the rare lesser prairie chicken -- the "dancing grouse of the Southwest" -- under the Endangered Species Act, with new studies showing greater likelihood of the bird's extinction across several states.

In 2014 the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bird as "threatened," but a federal court in Texas subsequently vacated those protections. The new petition prompts the agency to reinstate protections for the entire species -- seeking emergency help for the most imperiled, isolated populations.

"The Service is doing essentially nothing for these birds," said the Center's Tanya Sanerib. "Without the Act, the birds won't make it."

Get more from Public Radio Tulsa.

Lawsuit Launched to Save Whales From Deadly Gear

Gray whale

The Center and allies this week filed plans to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect endangered whales from mile-long drift gillnets and strings of sablefish pots off the West Coast. There were more than 60 reports of whales caught in fishing gear off the West Coast in 2015, and 40 whales were reportedly entangled this year as of June 30, putting 2016 on pace to break records.

"We can't stand by and watch as whales get tangled up and die in fishing gear. It's just not right," said the Center's Catherine Kilduff.

Read more in our press release.

Flotsam logo

Flotsam: #EcoList of Things We Love

7 Visual Artists Changing How We See Wildlife

Imperiled Texas Grass Proposed for Protection

Texas grasses

Following our agreement requiring the feds to decide on protection for 757 species, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to list the Guadalupe fescue -- a 3-foot-tall, high-mountain bunchgrass in Texas -- under the Endangered Species Act. The agency simultaneously proposed to protect 7,815 acres for the plant, threatened by grazing and invasive species and only surviving in one U.S. location.

"The Act will give this graceful grass a chance to return to other woodlands where it formerly thrived," said the Center's Michael Robinson.

Read more in our press release.


Lawsuit Filed to Protect Sea Life From Acidifying Ocean

The oceans absorb 22 million tons of carbon dioxide every day, making their water more acidic and bringing far-reaching threats to marine life. So last week the Center sued the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to respond to our 2013 petition by setting new water-quality standards to combat acidification.

"The EPA is ignoring the threat of ocean acidification, but we need to act now to protect marine animals that are already being hurt as seawater turns corrosive and impairs their ability to produce shells," said Emily Jeffers, a Center attorney.

Acidification has already caused massive oyster die-offs in the Pacific Northwest and has eroded the shells of small plankton called pteropods, important to the food web, off the California coast. Corals worldwide are growing sluggishly, while species like clownfish are suffering brain damage.

Read more in our press release.


Wild & Weird: Nature Thrives in Korean DMZ

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (or "DMZ"), at the epicenter of major geopolitical tensions, is a deadly no-man's land that stretches 160 miles across the Korean peninsula -- and now it's a de facto nature reserve, often considered one of the best-preserved temperate habitats in the world.

It's an important refuge for two of the planet's most endangered birds -- white-naped and red-crowned cranes -- as well as Asiatic black bears and, according to some accounts, extremely rare Korean tigers.

Watch our video, using footage by South Korean videographer Wanho Lim, on Facebook or YouTube.

Follow Us
 Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Instagram  Medium 

Center for Biological Diversity   |   biologicaldiversity.org

Opt out of this mailing list.   |   View this email in your browser.

Donate now to support the Center's work.

Photo credits: white fringeless orchid courtesy USFWS; red wolves by OnceAndFutureLaura/Flickr; burrowing owl by ligulate/Flickr; Center for Biological Diversity staff by Robin Silver; lesser prairie chicken by Larry Lamsa/Flickr; gray whale by Gilad Rom/Flickr; Flotsam logo courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Texas grasses by Jason Samfield/Flickr; ocean by Trent Roche/Flickr; DMZ by Wanho Lim.

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