​WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA TORCH THOUSANDS OF GIANT SEQUOIA TREES

thedcpatriot.com

Giant Sequoia trees in the western Sierra Nevada range in California have been severely damaged and estimates have said somewhere between 2,261 and 3,637 sequoia trees have been lost this year, alone.

This has been a bad year but last year was even worse as an estimated 7,500 to 10,400 trees were lost to wild fires, according to the Associated Press.  That means the lightning strikes in California have destroyed nearly 20% of all giant sequoias in the last two years. The giant sequoia is the Earth’s largest trees and are native to about 70 groves in the western Sierra Nevada range in California.

These giant sequoia trees were once considered nearly fireproof, but are being destroyed in wildfires at rates that are alarming experts. Fires in Sequioa National Park and the surrounding national forest that also bears the trees’ name tore through more than a third of the groves in California in the last two years.

Officials said the overall rising temperature of the planet in addition to a historic series of droughts in California, along with decades of fire suppression tactics have allowed such intense fires to ignite that it could cause the destruction of so many of the trees, many of which are thousands of years old.

Over the centuries the giant sequoia has adapted to have a bark thick enough to protect itself from the lower intensity of fires that were commonly ignited by lightning strikes in the region previously.

The lower intensity fires even help the trees, clearing other vegetation so the great sequoia can continue to grow and the fire will open the cones, causing the tree to release seeds. However, due to the dry and hot environments, the fires of the past several years have burned too hot for the seed to grow, endangering the areas where the most trees were burned.

California has seen its largest fires in the past five years, with last year setting a record for the most acreage burned. So far, the second-largest amount of land has burned this year.

Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks said, “The sobering reality is that we have seen another huge loss within a finite population of these iconic trees that are irreplaceable in many lifetimes. As spectacular as these trees are, we really can’t take them for granted. To ensure that they’re around for our kids and grandkids and great-kids, some action is necessary.”

https://thedcpatriot.com/%e2%80%8bwildfires-in-california-tourch-thousands-of-giant-sequoia-trees/

Black-footed Albatross – American Bird Conservancy

abcbirds.org
Black-footed Albatross


Black-footed Albatross map, NatureServeThe Black-footed Albatross is the only one of its kind commonly seen off the North American coastline. It’s rather small as albatrosses go, but still impressive, with a six-foot wingspan. Its species name, nigripes, derives from two Latin words, niger meaning “black,” and pes meaning “foot.”

Although drift nets and longline fisheries remain constant threats, the Black-footed Albatross faces a gauntlet of newer challenges: invasive predators and introduced plants on nesting islands, ingestion of plastics, and climate change.

More than 95 percent of the world’s population of Black-footed Albatross nests in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, with the largest colonies on Midway Atoll and Laysan Island. (Laysan is also home to the recently introduced Millerbird.) Although these islands are protected, they are vulnerable to the effects of sea-level rise and increased storm intensity.

 


Life over the Ocean

Black-footed Albatrosses are beautifully adapted for a life at sea and can remain airborne for hours, landing only on the water to rest or feed. Their specialized tubular noses (found among many seabirds, including Hawaiian Petrel and Newell’s Shearwater) filter salt, allowing the birds to drink seawater and giving them an excellent sense of smell.

This keen sense helps the albatross locate its prey over vast expanses of ocean. Favored foods include flying fish (both eggs and adults), squid, crustaceans, and offal thrown from ships.


They forage by seizing prey at the surface, up-ending to reach underwater, or diving short distances with wings partly spread.

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Like other albatross species, including Laysan and Waved, this bird is slow to mature, not breeding for until five years or older. It also has a low reproductive rate and mates for life.

Males are the first to arrive on the breeding grounds, where they re-claim the nest site that the bird and its partner may have used for many years. The strong pair bond shared by these birds is established and maintained through elaborate displays, including bowing, mutual preening, and head-bobbing.

The Black-footed Albatrosses’ nest, rebuilt each year, is a simple scrape in the sand, usually at or above the high-tide line in an open or sparsely vegetated area. Both birds build the nest and take turns incubating their single egg. If this egg is lost—whether to a predator or some other threat—the birds will not attempt to breed again until the following year.

Black-footed Albatross, Greg Lavaty

Black-footed Albatross in flight, showing its impressive six-foot wingspan. Photo by Greg Lavaty

For about 18 to 20 days after hatching, one parent broods and guards the nestling while other forages for food, switching off every day or two. The chick is fed by regurgitation by both parents until it fledges, at four to five months old.
Advocating for Black-footed Albatross

The Black-footed Albatross is included on the Watch List in the State of North America’s Birds 2016 report, which highlights species most in need of immediate conservation action.

ABC continues to advocate for Black-footed Albatross and other seabirds impacted by commercial fisheries. We also support legislation to ratify the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) by the United States. And we recently launched an interactive web-based tool to help fisheries avoid accidentally catching seabirds: fisheryandseabird.info.

ABC has also collaborated with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners to secure predator-free breeding habitat for seabirds on islands in Hawaii.

Donate to support ABC’s conservation mission!

Our weekly bird profiles provide an inside look at captivating species with video, birds calls, and fast facts dashboards.

https://abcbirds.org/bird/black-footed-albatross/

By Bonnie Malloy Senior Attorney


Here’s something I don’t want to report and you probably don’t want to read: So far this year, 24 endangered Florida panthers have died — 18 of them on roadways — an average of more than one a week. Remember that only an estimated 120 to 230 adult Florida panthers exist on Earth, all of them in southwest Florida. Just in the last week of September, three endangered panthers were killed on roadways in Lee and Collier counties — a kitten just 3 to 4 months old, a three-year-old male and a female that was 10 to 12 years old.

It’s hard to process this ongoing tragedy along with all the other things in the world. But we can’t let our despair at seeing so many panthers killed by vehicles obscure the fact that there are concrete actions we can insist our government leaders take to change the future for panthers.

And we have a special opportunity right now.

Floridian Shannon Estenoz was tapped by President Joe Biden to be assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, in charge of the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Estenoz (formerly with the Everglades Foundation) is among top U.S. officials in charge of protecting endangered species. How significant it would be to witness a Floridian in the federal government work to save the panther, our official state animal.

Here are a few key actions we should insist that local and federal officials like Estenoz take to stop these spiraling panther deaths:

  • Strengthen federal protections for Florida panthers under the Endangered Species Act to make sure they aren’t harmed by the new roads and traffic that will come with massive housing and commercial developments now planned in panther habitat.
  • Revisit the ill-conceived decision to open the 25,560-acre Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge to more people. Allowing turkey hunting, new hiking and biking trails, boardwalks and more infrastructure would only put Florida panthers in further peril.
  • Deny permits that threaten panthers, including wetlands destruction and oil drilling permits that are now being sought in the Big Cypress National Preserve near Everglades National Park, one of the last wild places panthers call home.
  • Stop the extremely questionable, recently exposed arrangement where landowners in panther territory have been paying staff costs for public employees at the very U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office that’s charged with reviewing their development plans. This needs to be investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Inspector General.
  • Return federal wetlands permitting authority to the federal government rather than allowing Florida to give developers a free pass to harm endangered species, including Florida panthers.

Our state animal has never been in greater danger, and the constant toll of panther deaths on highways is heartbreaking evidence that we are not doing enough. It’s painfully clear that now is the time to double down on protections for Florida panthers and ensure these magnificent animals survive and thrive.

It was devastating to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently declare 22 birds, fish and other wildlife on the endangered species list as extinct. Isn’t it our clear duty to future generations to make sure the Florida panther doesn’t meet the same fate?

This article originally appeared in the Tampa Bay Times.

https://earthjustice.org/from-the-experts/2021-october/5-things-we-can-do-now-to-save-the-florida-panther?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_term=feed

Stop the shark fin trade

Senate Drops Rider Exempting Greater Sage-Grouse from Endangered Species Act – American Bird Conservancy

Bald Eagle, Agustin Esmoris, Shutterstock

Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations| jerutter@abcbirds.org | @JERutter

Today, the Senate approved removal of a rider that had stifled conservation efforts for rapidly declining Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo by Vivek Khanzode

(Washington, D.C., October 18, 2021) The Senate FY 22 Interior Appropriations bill released today excludes a provision exempting protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the once-abundant but now rapidly declining Greater Sage-Grouse. The House of Representatives has already passed an Interior bill without the rider. Conservation groups are urging that the rider remain out of the final spending agreement.

“Our thanks to Senators Jeff Merkley and Patrick Leahy for showing exemplary conservation leadership by excluding the sage-grouse rider from the Interior bill,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for American Bird Conservancy (ABC). “This exemption has been in place for nearly seven years. It’s time to once again give the grouse the possibility of ESA protection and the safety net it deserves.”

The Greater Sage-Grouse is the keystone species of sagebrush habitat in the American West. Conserving the grouse also supports 350 other species of conservation concern, including the Pronghorn, Pygmy Rabbit, Mule Deer, native trout, and nearly 200 migratory and western bird species.

As many as 16 million Greater Sage-Grouse once occurred across 297 million acres of sagebrush grasslands in the West. Today, the sagebrush biome and grouse populations continue to decline. Sage-grouse habitat is less than half of what it once was, diminished by invasive species, roads, overgrazing, mining, energy development, agricultural conversion, and fires. The grouse’s populations have declined 80 percent range-wide since 1965 and nearly 40 percent since 2002.

“A recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study provides an excellent resource to understand the magnitude of Greater Sage-Grouse loss, as well as the likelihood that grouse populations will continue to decline,” said Holmer. “It also shows that the species’ range will continue to contract absent substantial new conservation measures.”

The USGS report indicates that current management plans and other regulatory mechanisms are not sufficient to arrest the grouse’s ongoing decline, and that additional conservation measures are needed to stabilize the population.

“Efforts to revive the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy can best be accomplished, and will have a greater chance of success, if the Endangered Species Act listing moratorium is ended,” said Holmer.

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American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

Search Our Database of Past Press Releases and Stories

Copyright 2021 © American Bird Conservancy. All Rights Reserved. American Bird Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 52-1501259

https://abcbirds.org/article/sage-grouse-rider-dropped-by-senate/

A Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger Has Been Found Dead In An Animal Trap In Indonesia

PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE

A critically endangered Sumatran Tiger was found dead after being caught in a trap on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, authorities said on Monday, in the latest setback for a species whose numbers are estimated to have dwindled to about 400.

The female Tiger, aged between 4 and 5 years, was found dead Sunday near Bukit Batu Wildlife Reserve in the Bengkalis district of Riau province, said Fifin Arfiana Jogasara, the head of Riau’s conservation agency.

Jogasara said an examination determined the Tiger died from dehydration five days after being caught in the snare trap, apparently set by a poacher, which broke one of its legs.

She said her agency will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in an investigation.

Sumatran Tigers, the most critically endangered Tiger subspecies, are under increasing pressure due to poaching as their jungle habitat shrinks, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It estimated fewer…

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I guess one is too many because they’re endangered!

Eleven U.S. Bird Species Soon to be Declared Extinct, Including Eight Hawaiian Birds

The Kiwikiu is one of several critically endangered bird species at risk of extinction in Hawai’i. Photo by Zach Pezzillo (MFBRP, 2019).

abcbirds.org

Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations| jerutter@abcbirds.org | @JERutter

(Washington, D.C., September 29, 2021) Eleven U.S. bird species are on their way to being declared extinct — and “eight of them are in Hawai’i,” noted Mike Parr, President of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), commenting on news announced today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Many news stories about this announcement have focused on the demise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, an iconic bird of the southeastern U.S. “The loss of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is tragic,” said Parr, “and could have been prevented if action to conserve its habitat was taken sooner. We at ABC are focused on the place where the next round of  imminent bird extinctions is likely to happen — Hawai’i — and taking action to prevent losing those birds.”

Hawai’i is the bird extinction capital of the world. It’s home to several bird species that are found nowhere else and are teetering on the edge of oblivion, including the Kiwikiu

“I still have hope that we can prevent the extinction of the Kiwikiu and other Hawaiian birds,” said Parr. “If we act now, and decisively, we can ensure a different outcome.”

“The number one-threat to Hawaiian birds is avian malaria, transmitted by non-native mosquitoes,” said Brad Keitt, ABC’s Oceans and Islands Director. “This threat is exacerbated by warming temperatures associated with climate change, which allow mosquitoes and the lethal diseases they carry to move into higher elevations — the last refuges of the remaining Hawaiian forest birds.”

ABC is helping to coordinate the design and implementation of a strategy that will disrupt the mosquitoes’ breeding cycle. Under the plan, a secure lab is rearing male mosquitoes containing a strain of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria that will make them unable to successfully reproduce with wild females in Hawai‘i.

“We’re working urgently with our partners in Hawai’i to deploy this solution and prevent the tragedy of future Hawaiian bird extinctions,” said Keitt.

The eight Hawaiian bird species presumed already extinct — including the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō and the Large Kauai thrush — are joined in today’s USFWS announcement by 15 other species, including fish and mussels. The total of 23 species listed in the announcement will be removed from the Endangered Species Act due to extinction.

“Sadly, the majority of these species were listed under the Endangered Species Act too late,” said Steve Holmer, Vice President of Policy for ABC. “The longer conservation efforts continue, the better the results. The Kirtland’s Warbler, delisted in 2019, is an excellent example of a species recovering, slowly but surely, over decades. It is essential that species be listed for protection under the ESA before they are in crisis — and that the ESA remain strong to guard against future extinctions.”

American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).

https://abcbirds.org/article/eleven-bird-species-extinction

Wolves in Western U.S. one step closer to Endangered Species protection

wildearthguardians.org

MISSOULA, MONTANA—Today, as the wolf hunting season begins in Montana—and Idaho continues its year-round slaughter of up to 90% of the states’ roughly 1,500 wolves—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced positive initial findings on two petitions filed seeking Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the western U.S.

According to a press release from the agency, USFWS determined that “the petitions present substantial, credible information indicating that a listing action may be warranted and will initiate a comprehensive status review of the gray wolf in the western U.S.” A copy of the two petitions are here and here.

“We are encouraged that the relentless pressure of the conservation community and the public has resulted in a response from USFWS on petitions to relist wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and beyond,” said John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians. “It’s tragic—and perhaps not coincidental—that this finding comes on the same day that the state of Montana has unleashed hunters to kill hundreds of wolves throughout the state, including on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.”

“We now need USFWS to not just issue this statement of intention, but to take swift action in moving forward with the relisting process in order to prevent wolves from being pushed back to the brink of extinction,” explained Horning.

Last month, Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission finalized rules to expand hunting season, eliminate a cap on the number of wolves that can be killed in hunting and trapping zones bordering Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park and allow individuals to kill up to 10 wolves per season. In July, Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission implemented new hunting regulations – in line with state legislation – to allow a new year-round wolf hunting season, which would enable 90% of the states’ population to be slaughtered through various cruel methods such as traps, snares and even with snowmobiles.

“On the day that Montana opened rifle hunting season on wolves, the USFWS has finally taken their head out of the sand and recognized the tremendous threats to wolves across the West,” said Sarah McMillan, Montana-based Conservation Director at WildEarth Guardians. “Unfortunately, it’s unconscionable that the USFWS thinks a commitment to make a decision in 12 months—when the agency is on full notice that up to 1,800 wolves will be killed in Montana and Idaho in the next few months alone—is an adequate response to what is clearly an emergency situation.”

WildEarth Guardians issued a separate press release earlier today regarding the start of the general wolf hunting season in Montana, which is available here.

Gray wolf in winter in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Sam Parks.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/wolves-in-western-u-s-one-step-closer-to-endangered-species-protection/

‘Like nothing in my lifetime’: researchers race to unravel the mystery of Australia’s dying frogs

A white-lipped tree frog

Show captionA white-lipped tree frog. Scientists are trying to unravel the cause of thousands of frog deaths in eastern Australia. Photograph: Liam Driver/Newspix / Rex FeaturEnvironmental investigations

amp.theguardian.com

Lisa Cox

After asking for public help with their investigations, scientists have received thousands of reports and specimens of dead, shrivelled frogs

In the middle of Sydney’s lockdown, scientist Jodi Rowley has been retrieving frozen dead frogs from her doorstep.

Occasionally one will arrive dried and shrivelled up in the post.

She’ll pack them in ice in an esky to be taken to her lab at the Australian Museum, where even more samples – green tree frogs, striped marsh frogs and the invasive cane toad among them – are waiting in a freezer for genetic testing.

Rowley and her team, along with scientists at the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at Taronga zoo and a forensic unit in the NSW department of planning, industry and environment, are trying to solve the mystery of what is killing Australia’s frogs.

Since late July, they’ve collected 1,200 records of dead or dying frogs, about 70% of them in New South Wales and 22% in Queensland.

“I know we’re dealing with our own pandemic but frogs are also dealing with a pandemic and whatever is going on right now is awful,” Rowley said.

“It’s like nothing in my lifetime that I’m aware of.”

One of the shrivelled frogs Jodi Rowley has been sent

One of the shrivelled frogs Australia Museum researcher Jodi Rowley has been sent. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

‘It’s really broken our hearts’

Rowley, a conservation biologist specialising in amphibians, is the lead scientist at the Australian Museum’s FrogID, a citizen science project that for the past four years has focused largely on recording the calls of Australia’s many frog species.

But its work shifted after Rowley did an ABC radio interview in late July to talk about dead green tree frogs that were being found around Scotts Head on the NSW mid north coast.

After that, Rowley started receiving emails about frogs in similar condition being found in other parts of the country.

A week later she and Karrie Rose, the head of Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, wrote a piece for the Conversation that asked people who spotted sick or dying amphibians to make a report through the FrogID email.

They received 160 emails in 24 hours. That’s grown to more than 2,000 since.

“It’s been quite devastating to be at the receiving end of some of these emails. I can only imagine how hard it is for the people out there who are seeing these frogs.”

Rowley at work in her lab

Rowley at work in her lab. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

One of those reports came from Yvonne Hulbert, who runs a bed and breakfast on an acreage on Macleay Island near Brisbane, where there is a thriving frog population.

Over the past few months they’ve found browning and dead frogs along their properties.

“They go a fawny beige colour then turn brown. They seem to get dry and they become emaciated and then shrivel and become skeletons,” Hulbert said.

“We recognise the same frogs and they just decline in health and size and eventually their eyes dull and they just die. It’s really sad.”

Gail Wilson-Lutter and her husband have lived in Meerschaum Vale in the NSW northern rivers for 36 years. Every night frogs would come into the kitchen via a gap in the roof.

“We keep what we call the frog-cuzzi, a little pool for them to swim in, and we love having them here because they kill spiders and pests.”

But in recent months, Wilson-Lutter noticed frogs were leaving loose skin in their little pool and others were changing colour or turning up dead.

“It’s really broken our hearts, because we love our frogs,” Wilson-Lutter says.

Too early to draw conclusions

Over the past two-and-a-half months, the scientists have collected reports of 31 different species affected in almost every state and territory.

Of those, 30 species are native – including endangered frogs such as green and golden bell frogs, southern bell frogs and the giant barred frog. The one invasive species is the cane toad.

Sixty per cent of the frogs found are green tree frogs, something likely explained by the fact they are a common species found in and around people’s homes.

The frogs that are found alive are often lethargic and emaciated, with red bellies and coloured patches on their skin.

When frogs die, they shrivel up quickly, so many have been found dark brown and withered.

Jane Hall at the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at Taronga zoo

Jane Hall at the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at Taronga zoo. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

“It’s exquisitely difficult to work with frogs because they decompose so quickly and are a cryptic species – meaning they’re difficult to find,” says Jane Hall, who works with Rose at the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health at Taronga zoo.

The two scientists have been conducting necropsies on frog carcasses at a pathology facility at Taronga zoo that acts as a morgue and a lab.

They dissect the frogs, looking for any indicators of disease, and take samples from their liver, kidneys, blood and stomach content if they have any.

Over at the Australian Museum, Rowley and her team are looking at the animals on a molecular level.

Much like a Covid-19 test, they swab the frogs – usually on their belly and legs – and also take a small skin sample. They then run DNA tests looking for pathogens that might indicate a virus or a fungus.

At present, the number one candidate for what has caused the mass mortality event is chytrid fungus, which has been responsible for declines of more than 500 amphibian species globally.

It is more likely to take hold during winter months, when frogs’ immune systems slow down.

Some of the tests have returned a positive result, but Rowley and Hall both say it is too early to draw conclusions.

Covid-19 lockdowns have also hampered the ability to do investigations in the field.

The freezer containing some of the samples Jodi Rowley has been sent

The freezer containing some of the samples Jodi Rowley has been sent. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

The researchers are working with a network of vets around Australia, some of whom are storing frozen frogs until they can be delivered after the lockdowns.

Others will conduct a basic necropsy and keep the rest of the carcass in a fixative to be examined microscopically later on.

Friends and family members are also storing frozen frogs that have been dropped in mailboxes by people from their communities.

Separately, a forensic team is running toxicology tests looking for things like pesticides, heavy metals or other environmental toxins.

There has been widespread pesticide use as a result of the recent mouse plague. Hall says it is unlikely to be the cause, but it needs to be ruled out.

When the lockdowns end, the scientists will have more access to more samples and locations to expand their work, do targeted surveys, and build a larger syndromic picture to work out what the common threads are.

If it is chytrid fungus, Rowley says it would be the largest such mortality event in Australia in more than a decade.

“The question then becomes why would it be impacting so much more now?” she says.

“Whether it’s to do with climate, the very cold winter, or it’s interacting with another stressor such as not enough food or pollution. It could be a new strain or something from overseas.”

Hall says there is no better example of how a pathogen can change than the current pandemic.

“Pathogens are always looking for ways they can improve how they work and move in animals,” she says.

“Chytrid can change, so we want to see if it’s the chytrid our frogs are used to being exposed to or if it’s a different kind of chytrid.”

She says another important and still to be answered question is whether the animals are dying of or withthe disease – that is, if it is just a contributing factor and other environmental stressors of recent years such as droughts, fires and climate change have played a role. Alternatively, the cause could be something else entirely, like a novel pathogen.

“Once we get more of an understanding of these things we can go to the next level and see how far it’s spread and what long-term effect it might have on vulnerable amphibian populations across Australia,” she says.

“They’re probably the best indicator of environmental health. It’s important we don’t ignore them.

“They absorb the environment through their skin so if something is off … the frogs will let us know.”

Anyone who spots an unwell or dead frog is encouraged to contact the FrogID project email on calls@frogid.net.au with the location and photos if possible.

https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/19/like-nothing-in-my-lifetime-researchers-race-to-unravel-the-mystery-of-australias-dying-frogs?__twitter_impression=true

Coalition proposes to scrap recovery plans for 200 endangered species and habitats

The Tasmanian devil

amp.theguardian.com

Lisa Cox

Show captionThe Tasmanian devil is among 200 endangered species and habitats that would lose their recovery plan under Coalition proposal. Photograph: Michal Čížek/AFP/Getty ImagesConservation

The Morrison government has proposed scrapping recovery plans for almost 200 endangered species and habitats including the Tasmanian devil, the whale shark and the endangered glossy-black cockatoo populations on Kangaroo Island, one of the worst-affected areas in the 2019-20 bushfires.

Environment groups have decried the move as a backward step less than 12 months after a statutory review of Australia’s national environmental laws found successive governments had failed to protect the country’s unique wildlife.

Recovery plans are documents that set out actions needed to stop the extinction of species. Ministers are legally bound not to make decisions that are inconsistent with them.

Since changes were made to legislation in 2007 they have been increasingly replaced with what’s known as a conservation advice, a similar document but which does not have the same legal force under national law.

Guardian Australia has previously reported that fewer than 40% of listed threatened species have a recovery plan. A further 10% of all those listed have been identified as requiring a recovery plan but those plans haven’t been developed or are unfinished. Even more plans are out of date.

The federal environment department revealed last year it had not finalised a single recovery plan for threatened species in nearly 18 months and more than 170 were overdue. All listed species, including those requiring a recovery plan, have a conservation advice.

This year, the government asked the independent threatened species scientific committee (TSSC), which advises it on endangered wildlife, to review recovery plans for 914 threatened species and habitats to determine which should continue to have a recovery plan and which could just have a conservation advice.

The committee provided advice that 676 no longer required a recovery plan.

The government is responding to the committee’s recommendations in stages and on Friday published for public consultation the first tranche of 157 animals and plants and 28 ecological communities for which it proposes scrapping recovery plans.

They include the vulnerable green and golden bell frog and the spectacled flying-fox, which had its threat status upgraded to endangered after heatwaves in 2019.

Among the ecological communities is the critically endangered Cumberland plain woodland, one of the most under pressure woodlands in the country as a result of urban development in western Sydney.

It has been identified as requiring a recovery plan since 2009 but no plan has ever been finalised.

Labor’s environment spokeswoman, Terri Butler, said on Friday “Scott Morrison has given up on saving iconic Australian species.”

“The 2019-20 bushfires killed or displaced 3 billion animals and his response now is to cut 157 recovery plans.”

The Greens’ environment spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, said the government was seeking to rewrite its obligations and was “putting up the white flag on saving our wildlife and native plants”.

“Downgrading the level of obligation on the minister is downgrading the protection of our native animals and species,” she said.

“This is all about letting the minister off the hook – the Morrison government has dropped the ball on protecting our environment and wildlife and now they want to change the rules and responsibilities.”

Helene Marsh, the chair of the threatened species scientific committee, told Guardian Australia that the species and habitats the committee had assessed were those for which recovery plans had expired, were due to expire or were overdue.

She said the committee had carefully considered every plant, animal and habitat and determined that overall about 13% of the country’s wildlife required a recovery plan.

Marsh said recovery planning had been ineffective, with plans often unfunded and actions not implemented.

She said a conservation advice could be as detailed and useful a tool, could be developed more quickly, and rapidly updated after an emergency such as the bushfire disaster.

“We’ve looked at whether a recovery plan will make a difference or not and we’ve looked at every single one in great detail,” she said. “A conservation advice can be updated and in these times of fires and climate change is a much more nimble instrument.”

Marsh told Guardian Australia that the most important reforms the government could make for Australia’s wildlife would be to implement legally binding and detailed national environmental standards that were recommended by the former competition watchdog head, Graeme Samuel, in his review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

She said the committee’s recommendations on which species and habitats should not have recovery plans were based, in part, on whether they were regularly affected by development and therefore triggered the need for a development to be assessed under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

She said the committee had recommended that species that regularly triggered the act retain a recovery plan.

However, the Cumberland Plain woodland, the golden sun moth and the striped legless lizard, which all regularly trigger the need for assessment under the act, all appear on the list of proposed habitats and animals that would no longer require a recovery plan.

Samantha Vine, of Birdlife Australia, said a conservation advice was a good foundational document but was not a robust plan to get species off the path to extinction.

The organisation is concerned about the 19 threatened birds that may no longer require a recovery plan, including the glossy black cockatoo populations of Kangaroo Island and South Australia, the northern masked owl and the Abbott’s Booby.

“We completely see where the threatened species scientific committee is coming from because they are overwhelmed,” Vine said. “But walking away from recovery plans because they’re not functioning as well as they should be is not the right approach in an extinction crisis.”

Brendan Sydes, a lawyer and policy adviser at the Australian Conservation Foundation, said recovery plans were not working as well as they should but the answer was not to abandon them all together.

“Conservation advices are not an adequate replacement for recovery plans, as they are much less rigorous in what they require and don’t have the same legal clout,” he said.

“To virtually give up on recovery planning would be a terrible admission that there is no political will to tackle Australia’s extinction crisis.”

A spokesperson for the environment department said the recommendations were based on “the best planning outcome for the individual threatened entity, and are subject to public consultation prior to any final decision being made”.

“This is the first tranche of public consultation which invites the public to provide feedback on proposed subsequent recovery plan decisions for 185 species and ecological communities,” the spokesperson said.

“Subsequent public consultation periods for lists of other species and ecological communities will be held.”

A spokesperson for the environment minister, Sussan Ley, said: “The proposed changes have been recommended by the independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee and are now available for public consultation.”

https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/18/coalition-plans-to-scrap-recovery-plans-for-200-endangered-species-and-habitats?__twitter_impression=true

President Biden never fails to disappoint

Wolves Help The World… Hunters Don’t And Never Will

Search Efforts Resume For 118 Missing Residents After Crews Demolish Collapsed Miami High Rise

www.dailywire.com

Emily Zanotti

Search crews have resumed combing through the rubble of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, on Monday, looking for the tower’s 118 missing residents, following a decision to implode the building’s remains.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, crews set off explosives designed to bring down what was left of the Champlain Towers following an unexpected partial collapse in late June that left much of the condominium building in a pile of rubble on top of what was once the tower’s pool deck.

Miami-Dade officials announced the demolition Sunday morning, concerned that an incoming tropical storm could further damage the already crumbling structure, putting search and rescue crews in danger. Demolition crews from a Seattle-based company, which has experience in large-scale building demolitions, were dispatched Sunday afternoon.

CBS News captured the dramatic explosion and posted the footage to social media.

By the time search efforts halted earlier this weekend, rescuers had found the remains of 24 residents, but it has been days since anyone has been recovered from the rubble alive. Following the demolition, crews found the remains of an additional 3 residents.

NBC News reported Monday that search efforts resumed following the demolition, but could be put on hold again as Tropical Storm Elsa moves up the Florida coast.

“Search and rescue efforts for 118 unaccounted for residents continued Monday now that the unstable remnants of a Miami-area condo tower that collapsed nearly two weeks ago has been brought down,” the outlet said. “The destruction of the remaining structure has allowed search and rescue teams to explore more of the debris without concerns that the unstable building will collapse on the crews, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on NBC News’ ‘TODAY’ show.”

“We owe it to all of those waiting to get this pile and open it up for search and that’s exactly what happened last night before midnight,” Cava said. “They were out there again, searching in the rubble. And we understand that families realize the fact that time has gone by, they realize that the chances are going dimmer and dimmer.”

Surfside, Florida, mayor Charles Burkett said Monday that the demolition has allowed crews to work faster, and that the search teams are now exhuming the collapsed apartments at a much faster rate because they are now able to use heavy equipment, which was, before the demolition, prohibited, lest the machines destablize the remaining structure.

Officials, the New York Times added over the weekend, are now struggling with how long to call the operation a “search and rescue” operation, given that the chances of finding a survivor in the wreckage are “dimming.” Declaring the effort a “recovery” process “could unlock new, potentially faster ways of tunneling through the layers of concrete to find remains” and it “could also allow the families of the missing to move forward in the grieving process.”

But the drawback, of course, is that it would involve admitting that its likely the 118 missing residents of the Champlain Towers South are dead.

Burkett told media that the search’s official designation was immaterial.

“Efforts will continue 24/7 until every unaccounted for person will is found, with the exception of bad weather, Burkett said,” per NBC.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member

https://www.dailywire.com/news/search-efforts-resume-for-118-missing-residents-after-crews-demolish-collapsed-miami-high-rise?%3Futm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwtwitter

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increased fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

Grizzly bear ‘Felicia’ and her cubs may be euthanized for being too close to Wyoming road

news.yahoo.com

Felicia walking along a weeded area with her two cubs.
Felicia walking along a weeded area with her two cubs.

Sudiksha Kochi, USA TODAY

A grizzly bear mother and her two cubs are at risk for relocation or even death after making their home near a Wyoming highway.

The bear, known as “Felicia” by Jackson Hole residents poses a threat, wildlife officials say, for her family’s proximity to a 55-mile highway in the Togwotee Mountain Pass.

People have also been spotted approaching and feeding the bears.

“Human-conditioned behavior,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a news release, could lead to aggressive bear behavior.

If park rangers aren’t able to scare the bear off the road using rubber bullets or loud noises over the next 10 to 14 days, U.S. Fish and Wildlife service says Felicia and her cubs will likely be relocated or euthanized.

Wildlife advocates, including Savannah Rose Burgess, say euthanasia shouldn’t be an option. Burgess launched a petition on June 11 to save Felicia and her cubs that has more than 34,500 signatures as of Thursday.

With her team, Burgess is also working to launch a bear ambassador program where a person or multiple people would ensure visitors are following appropriate guidelines in the presence of bears.

“We have the opportunity here to make a really impactful change,” Burgess told USA TODAY. “It is absolutely horrible to try to think of removing this animal. She’s important and she’s vital, and not just vital to her species in the reproductive sense.”

She has been in contact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who are open to her efforts and are working with her.

Felicia, according to Burgess, has never been aggressive or charged anyone. Award-winning wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen, who has documented Felicia for over six years, also says that she is very calm and collected.

“This is more of a people management issue than a bear management issue. We need more people on the ground who are trained and educated,” Mangelsen told USA TODAY.

Yellowstone bear charges woman: National Park Service has launched investigation

‘Just didn’t seem quite right’: Bear with rare disease seems unfazed

Mangelsen and his assistant, Susan Cedarholm, are working with different entities such as the forest service and the wildlife service to come up with a solution to keep Felicia alive and other bears that may come along.

“We are all working for the same cause,” Mangelsen said.

Jack Bayles, owner of Team399 that helps fund grizzly bear education and protection, says that it is up to the person to be informed on bear guidelines. An incident happened in Yellowstone National Park where a woman disregarded park rules to stay 100 yards away from bears, and it ended up charging her.

“I think the bear ambassador program can be really effective. The wildlife brigade in Grand Teton National Park, for example, has been highly successful in managing people around these situations,” Bayles said.

Bayles said that part of keeping bears alive is respecting their boundaries.

“The bears have done nothing wrong. There just happens to be a road that goes through her territory,” Bayles said. “I think it’s incumbent upon the public to understand what their role is when they come into a grizzly habitat.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Grizzly bear Felicia, cubs near Wyoming road may be euthanized: FWS

https://news.yahoo.com/grizzly-bear-felicia-her-cubs-111502183.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw&tsrc=twtr

Positive step in defense of rare New Mexico plants threatened by fracking | WildEarth Guardians

wildearthguardians.org

Washington, D.C.—Two imperiled plants threatened by fracking in northwest New Mexico took a big step forward toward protection today, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Aztec gilia (Aliciella formosa) and Clover’s cactus (Sclerocactus cloverae) should be reviewed for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The positive 90-day findings for both species comes in response to scientific petitions filed by WildEarth Guardians calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the gilia and cactus under the Endangered Species Act. Both imperiled plants inhabit the Grater Chaco Landscape of northwestern New Mexico. The region’s public lands, cultural integrity, and biodiversity continue to be threatened by fracking and oil and gas extraction.

Clover’s cactus is found only in Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and San Juan counties in New Mexico, while the Aztec gilia is found only in San Juan County. Both plants only live in a geological formation called the Nacimiento Formation. Unfortunately for the plants, this formation is also the site of intensive fracking that has been authorized by the U.S. Bureau Land Management.

“The Bureau of Land Management has been rubber stamping fracking in this region for decades, running roughshod over the Greater Chaco Landscape and communities,” said Rebecca Sobel, Organizing Director for WildEarth Guardians, a member of the Greater Chaco Coalition. “If unfettered fracking is not reined in, the health of the landscape and these endemic species remains in grave peril.”

Previous Freedom of Information Act requests to the agency revealed internal strife, oil and gas companies failing to comply with their Conditions of Approval and monitoring requirements, and poor record-keeping in regards to transplanted Clover’s cactus and their survival rates. The Aztec gilia population has declined steeply since 1995.

“Up to this point, the Bureau of Land Management has failed in its duty to preserve rare plants in the Nacimiento Formation from oil and gas drilling and associated development,” said Lindsay Larris, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “The goal of WildEarth Guardians’ listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to make sure these rare species don’t get thrown under the bus for fracking, but instead get the Endangered Species Act protections they need to survive and thrive.”

Since the ESA’s enactment, 99 percent of listed species have avoided extinction, and hundreds more have been set on a path to recovery. The law is especially important as a defense against the current extinction crisis; species are disappearing at a rate much higher than the natural rate of extinction due to human activities, resulting in what some scientists term a “biological annihilation.” According to a recent United Nations report, over a million species are currently at risk of extinction. Researchers estimate that, if not for ESA protections, 291 species would have gone extinct since the law’s passage in 1973.

Aztec gilia. Photo by Daniela Roth.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/positive-step-in-defense-of-rare-new-mexico-plants-threatened-by-fracking/

Bring the sea otters back

environmentamerica.webaction.org

Sea otters are one of the most beloved animals on earth. Unfortunately, over a hundred years ago, people hunted sea otters to near-extinction off of the Oregon coast. We, along with our ocean, are still paying the price.

Without otters around to keep them in check, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years, mowing down critical kelp forests and creating a nearshore wasteland where few other species can survive. Without kelp, many fish and sea creatures are left without shelter, habitat, or their primary food source.

I support efforts to reintroduce sea otters off the Oregon coast to help bolster the endangered species and restore the health of the kelp forest ecosystems.

Sea otters are one of the most beloved animals on earth. Unfortunately, over a hundred years ago, people hunted sea otters to near-extinction off of the Oregon coast. We, along with our ocean, are still paying the price.

Without otters around to keep them in check, purple sea urchin populations have exploded in recent years, mowing down critical kelp forests and creating a nearshore wasteland where few other species can survive. Without kelp, many fish and sea creatures are left without shelter, habitat, or their primary food source.

I support efforts to reintroduce sea otters off the Oregon coast to help bolster the endangered species and restore the health of the kelp forest ecosystems.

https://environmentamerica.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=44536&supporter_KEY=1220798&uid=0d0236e6916ce0fdcb06085fe49b10fc&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&tag=email_blast:93612&utm_campaign=AME4-FCNS:WILDLIFE:OTTER-0521&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-APP

Save Majestic Spotted Owls From Extinction – ForceChange

Photo Credit: Frank D. Lospalluto

forcechange.com

Posted by Tiffany White

Target: Jonathan Wilkinson, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Goal: Extend protections for old growth forests that benefit spotted owls.

Beautiful birds that once flourished in Canada’s wild have been reduced to three. The spotted owl, which inhabits Canada and parts of the United States, is in such dire straits that the species has become the focus of a Canadian captive breeding program. Even with this step, only one known breeding pair currently resides in any forest of Canada.

Populations have been decimated by an onslaught of logging. Much of this activity has wiped away the precious old growth forests the owls called home for centuries. Native tribes revere these animals, calling them “messengers” that represent the overall wellness of nature. If the plight of the spotted owl is any indication, Mother Nature herself is in grave danger. A temporary halt has been placed on logging of old-grown habitats these birds depend upon for survival. The owls’ population cannot possibly recover in such a short time, however, so this ban should remain in place indefinitely.

Sign the petition below to advocate for the longevity of old-growth forests and the renaissance of one of their most storied inhabitants.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Wilkinson,

Canada has pledged to protect at least a quarter of its splendid natural habitats. The old-growth forests that have dotted the Canadian landscape for thousands of years should be a top priority in this goal. These forests not only speak to the nation’s rich botanical legacy; they also house the majestic spotted owl: a species currently at urgent risk in the wild.

The breeding programs instituted can help build this population, but renewed numbers cannot be sustained in the absence of habitat. The vanishing of old growth forests perpetuated this crisis. The government has announced a one-year ban on logging of these forests, but the commitment must be greater.

Please consider a permanent, or at least indefinite, end to the destructive plundering of Canada’s true most precious natural resources.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://forcechange.com/587219/save-majestic-spotted-owls-from-extinction/

Feds Propose Endangered Species Act protections for lesser prairie-chicken | WildEarth Guardians

Lesser prairie-chicken. Photo by Greg Kramos/USFWS.

wildearthguardians.org

Big step forward in WildEarth Guardians’ decades-long battle to protect imperiled species

WASHINGTONYesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) announced its proposal to provide Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to the lesser prairie-chicken, a charismatic grassland bird that now occupies approximately 15% of its historic range. The Service’s proposed rule was submitted as the result of a settlement agreement between the federal government and WildEarth Guardians and partner organizations finalized in 2019, following failure to act on a 2016 listing petition.

The proposed rule includes listing the lesser prairie-chicken in two distinct population segments (“DPS”), with the Northern DPS—encompassing Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma—proposed to be listed as “threatened” and the Southern DPS—consisting of birds in New Mexico and Texas—proposed to be listed as “endangered.” All populations face severe threats of habitat loss and fragmentation caused by oil and gas development, cropland conversion, livestock grazing, roads, and power lines.

“WildEarth Guardians has been fighting for more than two decades to get ESA protections for the lesser prairie-chicken and we are encouraged that the Service has finally recognized the need for federal listing status,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “For far too long, this iconic dancing bird has seen its numbers dwindling towards extinction and we are hopeful this is the first step towards rebuilding populations and preserving habitat.”

Federal listing petitions for the lesser prairie-chicken date back to the mid 1990s. For two decades, voluntary state agreements were relied upon to protect the species in lieu of federal government protections. In 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened. But protection was overturned on procedural grounds after a lawsuit from the Permian Basin Petroleum Association and four counties.

“The lesser prairie-chicken and its habitat have been absolutely trashed by unchecked oil and gas extraction,” said Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director at WildEarth Guardians. “This proposed rule means that the ESA finally stands to provide the safety net desperately needed to protect the lesser prairie-chicken in the face of rampant fracking in the Permian Basin of southeast New Mexico and west Texas.”

The lesser prairie chicken—an icon of the Southern Plains—once numbered in the millions but has declined to just roughly 38,000 birds across less than 17 percent of its original range. Experts estimate the population of lesser prairie chickens at 3 million birds before the beginning of Euro-American settlement on the Great Plains.

The Service will be accepting comments on the proposed rule for 60 days once the proposal is published in the Federal Register before issuing a final decision.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/feds-propose-endangered-species-act-protections-for-lesser-prairie-chicken/

Help Beach-Nesting Birds | American Bird Conservancy

abcbirds.org

Beach-nesting bird populations in the Gulf Coast have seen a steady decline since the days John James Audubon fell in love with its abundant birdlife. For the Fab Four of beach nesting birds, the Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer and Snowy Plover, nesting on the beach can be a huge challenge. Coastal development, off-road vehicles, beachgoers, and pets equal a perfect storm of threats and endanger their very existence. But, you can help beach-nesting birds.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

Every year, these birds are the first to arrive at the beach and lay claim to a spot with the purpose of hatching their young safely. Natural and unnatural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, set back beach-nesting bird populations dramatically. It takes years for population recovery and as competition for space on the beach increases, they can’t do it without our help.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

Snowy Plover with chick by Michael Wharton

These coastal birds will be setting up camp at popular beaches such as East Beach, Bryan Beach and Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture in Texas, Holly Beach, Rutherford Beach, Grand Isle State Park and public beaches in Louisiana, St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island in Florida and Bon Secour in Alabama. The time to help beach-nesting birds is now. Spring and fall represents a critical time for these birds and together we can help them thrive.

Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away

By donating today, you can make a difference. Your support will: provide fencing and warning signs around sensitive nesting areas, help staff and our volunteer bird stewards educate people to stay away from nesting sites and provide beachgoers information about how to avoid disturbing beach-nesting birds via the “Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” educational campaign. Learn more about our coastal bird program in the gulf.

Help Beach-Nesting Birds

A sign raising awareness and protecting a Least Tern nest by Kacy Ray

“Fish, Swim, and Play from 50 Yards Away” has proven to be a successful approach to protect beach-nesting birds. This educational campaign raises awareness among beach-goers of the recreational impacts on beach-nesting birds. Educational, media-based campaigns such as this, are a major strategy identified in most conservation plans to recover shorebird populations in decline. To date, the only Gulf program for beach-nesting birds that combines the use of media marketing with protection, monitoring, and on-the-ground outreach is the Fish, Swim and Play from 50 Yards Away campaign.

Funds from this campaign will help ABC and our partners increase nest and fledging success and further the stewardship of Wilson’s Plovers, Least Terns, Snowy Plovers, Black Skimmers and other species of concern across the Gulf Coast. If we do not protect their nests, their numbers will continue to decline. Please make a gift today to protect beach-nesting birds.

BE A PART OF THIS CAMPAIGN BY MAKING A CONTRIBUTION

American Bird Conservancy is the Western Hemisphere’s bird conservation specialist—the only organization with a single and steadfast commitment to achieving conservation results for native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With a focus on efficiency and working in partnership, we take on the toughest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on sound science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation.

Audubon Louisiana mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program mission is to involve a representation of a broad base of people to support the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP). This includes supporting the mission of stewardship of the cultural, economic and ecological resources of the Barataria and Terrebonne Basins.

Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CBBEP) is dedicated to protecting, researching and restoring the bays and estuaries in the 12-county region of the Texas Coastal Bend. As part of the National Estuary Program, CBBEP works with local governments, conservation groups, teachers, students and the public to raise awareness of our natural surroundings through research, restoration and recreation projects.

Eckerd College mission is to challenge students to embark on a journey of development through the coordination of service to the college, to the Church, and to the community.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission mission is the managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.

Florida Shorebird Alliance  is a statewide partnership of government and non-government organizations committed to advancing shorebird and seabird conservation in Florida through coordinated and collaborative work that helps identify and address important needs with regard to research, management, education, outreach, and public policy.

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory mission is to protect the birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico. They are recognized as an innovative organization, which has designed and conducted a significant number of large conservation projects, including migration studies, habitat enhancement, land acquisition, regional habitat mapping, and others.

Houston Audubon is dedicated to the creation of a healthier natural environment and more beautiful place to live by leading and nurturing a community that values and supports birds. Their mission is to advance the conservation of birds and positively impact their supporting environments. They own 17 sanctuaries in five counties, including the internationally known High Island and Bolivar Flats sanctuaries.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

https://abcbirds.org/help-beach-nesting-birds/

Emergency federal protections sought for imperiled Joshua tree | WildEarth Guardians

Joshua Trees at Sunset. By Brad Sutton, National Park Service.

Joshua trees at sunset. By Brad Sutton, National Park Service.

wildearthguardians.org

WildEarth Guardians files Endangered Species Act petitions for climate-threatened desert plant 5 – 6 minutes


Washington, DC –WildEarth Guardians has submitted emergency petitions (here and here) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to immediately provide federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for both the eastern and western species of Joshua tree, icons of California’s Mojave Desert.

Guardians submitted these petitions to list the Joshua tree on an emergency basis under the ESA, while simultaneously challenging the Service’s 2019 decision under the Trump administration to deny Joshua trees protected status as a “threatened” species in federal court—a listing decision that was prompted by a previous petition submitted by Guardians in 2015.

Guardians’ emergency petitions were submitted in advance of what is expected to be yet another severe fire season in Southern California. Last summer, the Mojave Desert reached a record-breaking 130 degrees while enormous wildfires like the Dome Fire also decimated thousands of acres of Joshua tree habitat, destroying an estimated 1.3 million Joshua trees.

Joshua trees have existed for over 2.5 million years, but multiple published, peer-reviewed climate models show that climate change will eliminate this beloved plant from the vast majority of its current range, including its namesake National Park, by century’s end without robust efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and address threats from invasive grass-fueled wildfires.

“Over the past six years, more and more climate studies have come out validating the position raised by Guardians in its 2015 petition—that a significant amount of the Joshua tree’s current habitat will be rendered ‘climatically unsuitable’ within the next 30 to 70 years without human intervention and a government-driven change of course,” said Jennifer Schwartz, staff attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “Under the Trump administration, the Service irrationally dismissed the best available science. But we’re hopeful that either a court victory or these emergency petitions will force the agency under new leadership to do the right thing and grant Joshua trees the federal ESA protections they deserve.”

In addition to an abundance of new climate studies, the petitions point to a major change since the filing of the 2015 petition. In September 2020, the California Fish & Game Commission (CFGC) unanimous vote to grant western Joshua trees (the species found almost exclusively in California) candidate status under California’s version of the ESA, the California Endangered Species Act or (CESA). This decision was based, in part, on the best-available science confirming that increasingly frequent, higher intensity fires have resulted in significant, widespread mortality of Joshua trees and this trend is projected to continue into the future.

“The California Fish & Game Commission took a pivotal step in protecting western Joshua trees by granting them candidate status under the California Endangered Species Act, and now we need bold action by the Service to ensure permanent, federal protections for both species,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “Guardians is optimistic that the Biden administration’s historic recognition of climate science and affirmative policy actions to fight against catastrophic climate change will carry over into protections for climate-vulnerable species like the Joshua tree.”

While the Endangered Species Act is America’s most effective law for protecting imperiled plants and wildlife in danger of extinction, the Trump administration promulgated a series of regulatory changes that seek to weaken protections for critically imperiled species, for instance by precluding their listing based on threats from climate change and limiting the designation of critical habitat. Guardians, and a coalition of conservation groups, are seeking to reverse these changes through multiple lawsuits and consistent pressure on the Biden administration.

“Guardians is committed to the steadfast defense of the ESA and the species that rely upon it for their very survival,” said Larris. “After the end of the worst administration for biodiversity conservation in history, we believe that, under the leadership of Secretary Deb Haaland, there is opportunity for the Service to create a viable future for the Joshua tree and countless other dwindling species.”

Since the ESA’s enactment, 99 percent of listed species have avoided extinction, and hundreds more have been set on a path to recovery. According to a recent United Nations report, over a million species are currently at risk of extinction. Researchers estimate that, if not for ESA protections, 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006.

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/emergency-federal-protections-sought-for-imperiled-joshua-tree/

Huge clearcutting plan next to Yellowstone threatening grizzlies and lynx halted | WildEarth Guardians

Yellowstone-area grizzly bear with cubs. Photo by Sam Parks.

wildearthguardians.org

Proposal called for 4,600 acres of clearcuts, bulldozing up to 56 miles of roads on public lands just outside of Yellowstone National Park

WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA— Following a challenge by multiple conservation groups, the U.S. Forest Service announced Thursday that it was halting a plan to clearcut more than 4,600 acres of native forests, log across an additional 9,000 acres and bulldoze up to 56 miles of road on lands just outside Yellowstone National Park in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

In April, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council challenged the South Plateau project, saying it would destroy habitat for grizzly bears, lynx, pine martens, and wolverines. The logging project would have destroyed the scenery and solitude for hikers using the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, which crosses the proposed timber-sale area.

“This was another one of the Forest Service’s ‘leap first, look later’ projects where the agency asks for a blank check to figure out later where they’ll do all the clearcutting and bulldozing,” said Adam Rissien, a rewilding advocate at WildEarth Guardians. “Logging forests under the guise of reducing wildfires is not protecting homes or improving wildlife habitat, it’s just a timber sale. If the Forest Service tries to revive this scheme to clearcut native forests and bulldoze new roads in critical wildlife habitat just outside of Yellowstone, we’ll continue standing against it.”

In response to the group’s challenge, the Forest Service said it was withdrawing the South Plateau project until after it issues a new management plan for the Custer-Gallatin National Forest this summer. Then it plans to prepare a new environmental analysis of the project with “additional public involvement” to ensure the project complies with the new forest plan.

“This is a good day for the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and for the grizzlies, lynx and other wildlife that call it home,” said Ted Zukoski, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Forest Service may revive this destructive project in a few months, but for now this beautiful landscape is safe from chainsaws and bulldozers.”

The project violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to disclose precisely where and when it would bulldoze roads and clearcut the forest, which made it impossible for the public to understand the project’s impacts, the groups said in their April objection. The project allowed removal of trees more than a century old, which provide wildlife habitat and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide, an essential component of addressing the climate emergency.

“The South Plateau project was in violation of the forest plan protections for old growth,” said Sara Johnson, director of Native Ecosystems Council and a former wildlife biologist for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. “The new forest plan has much weaker old-growth protections standards. That is likely why they pulled the decision — so they can resign it after the new forest plan goes into effect.”

“The Forest Service needs to drop the South Plateau project and quit clearcutting old-growth forests,” said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “Especially clearcutting and bulldozing new logging roads in grizzly habitat on the border of Yellowstone National Park.”

Other Contact

Ted Zukoski, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 641-3149, tzukoski@biologicaldiversity.org, Michael Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936, wildrockies@gmail.com, Dr. Sara Jane Johnson, Native Ecosystems Council, (406) 579-3286, sjjohnsonkoa@yahoo.com

https://wildearthguardians.org/press-releases/huge-clearcutting-plan-next-to-yellowstone-halted/

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increased fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

Recipients

  • Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

Urge Congress to boost funding for endangered species conservation

secure.wildearthguardians.org

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of the best tools America has to stem the current extinction crisis facing plants and wildlife. In fact, the ESA has prevented more than 99% of species protected by the Act from going extinct over the past four decades.

Unfortunately, the ESA has been chronically underfunded for decades. Hundreds of endangered animals and plants receive less than $1,000 a year for their recovery and many species receive no funding at all from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This must change immediately.

WildEarth Guardians has joined more than 170 groups calling on Congress to significantly increase the USFWS’ budget for endangered species conservation and we could use your help. Please write your members of Congress today.

Photo Credit: Eric Kilby

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1147

Wild Lions are in Danger of Going Extinct And It’s Not Because Of Global Warming!

This is just the first week!

Take action: Sonoran desert tortoise move slow, but are racing toward extinction

The Sonoran desert tortoise is found south and east of the Colorado River, in the central and western parts of Arizona, and into northwestern Mexico. The habitat of this rare reptile is threatened by invasive species, livestock grazing, increase fire risk, housing developments, off-road vehicles, habitat fragmentation, and increased predation facilitated by human activities.

In 2015, WildEarth Guardians and allies challenged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) decision not to protect the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As a result of that lawsuit, in August 2020 USFWS agreed to reconsider the tortoise for ESA protection.

USFWS must now go back and take a new look at the imperiled animal’s status in Arizona and has 18 months to make a new determination about the status of the species. Sonoran desert tortoise are known for moving slowly, but without full federal ESA protections, they will continue racing toward extinction. Please raise your voice today!

Photo Credit: E.K. Schahauser

Recipients

  • Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland

https://secure.wildearthguardians.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1148

The Last Four Huba Lions… EXTINCTION IS FOREVER

 

 https://twitter.com/LIONLOVERS5/status/1384955403411275781?s=03

Five elephants are feared dead after Kenya fires ‘started by British soldiers cooking’

By Mark Nicol Defence Editor For The Daily Mail 22:00 25 Mar 2021, updated 22:43 25 Mar 2021

www.dailymail.co.uk

  • Five elephants, including a calf, have reportedly been killed in the fires started by UK soldiers in Kenya
  • The fires continued to rage over 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area 
  • The fire reportedly started when troops cooking a meal on a camping stove accidentally set light to dry grass

Five elephants, including a calf, have reportedly been killed in fires started by UK soldiers in Kenya, prompting an investigation by the British Army.

Officials confirmed the probe last night as the most recent of the fires continued to rage over 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area.

All military exercises have been suspended while an emergency operation to put out the huge blaze continues.

Hundreds of UK troops are being deployed to fight the fire, beating back the flames on the dry scrubland. Huge blaze: The fire seen beyond military vehicles in the 8,000 acres of the Lolldaiga training area, near Nanyuki, Kenya

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Last night British and Kenyan army helicopters were pouring hundreds of tons of water on to the blaze. UK military vehicles were on standby to evacuate those living nearby.

Four adult elephants are feared to have perished in the flames on Wednesday night. They were trapped inside an area surrounded by electric fencing, which had been erected to prevent them wandering into area where British troops practice warfighting, according to local reports.

Defence chiefs are investigating the cause of the fire, which reportedly started on Wednesday when troops cooking a meal on a camping stove accidentally set light to dry grass.

The fire spread quickly but no British soldiers were injured, according to official defence sources.

A baby elephant is said to have been killed in a separate fire on a military training area in Kenya last week.African elephants similar to those who have reportedly died A British solder posted on Snapchat about a fire

In this incident Royal Military Police officers apparently set off a flare in a bid to disperse a herd of elephants. But the flare is said to have set light to a bush, trapping a calf.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the reported deaths of the elephants. More than 1,000 British troops are currently taking part in military exercises in Kenya. Some have vented their frustration about the fires on social media.

One soldier wrote in a message sent via social media site Snapchat: ‘Two months in Kenya later and we’ve only got eight days left. Been good, caused a fire, killed an elephant and feel terrible about it but hey-ho, when in Rome.’ This post is believed to refer to last week’s inferno rather than the fire which is still ablaze.

The Ministry of Defence said last night: ‘We can confirm there has been a fire during a UK-led exercise in Kenya and that investigations are ongoing.

‘All personnel have been accounted for and now our priority is to urgently assist the local community if they have been impacted. We are putting our resources into containing the fire and are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to manage the situation.

‘The exercise has been paused while conditions on the ground can be fully assessed.’ It comes as both species of the African elephant were yesterday classed as endangered for the first time, according a ‘red list’ of at-risk animals by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Most British troops on exercise in Kenya are from the 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment (2 Mercs). Last week Army chiefs announced it will be axed as part of the Government’s Integrated Review of defence and security.

There are 230 military personnel permanently based in Kenya to train visiting UK troops and Kenyan forces. Most are part of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK).

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9404073/amp/Five-elephants-feared-dead-Kenya-fires-started-British-soldiers-cooking.html?__twitter_impression=true