Gray wolves lost federal Endangered Species Act protections on January 4, 2021. The reckless decision by the Trump administration applies to all gray wolves in the lower 48 states despite the lack of scientific evidence showing true recovery across gray wolves’ historic range.
WildEarth Guardians and our partners filed a legal challenge to reverse this heinous decision on January 14. For now, management of wolf populations has returned to individual state wildlife agencies, some of which are notoriously anti-wolf and are already planning hunting and trapping season on wolves.
We can’t abandon fragile wolf-recovery efforts and allow anti-wolf states, hunters, and trappers to push these iconic species back to the brink of extinction. Sign this petition urging the Biden administration to take action to halt the impending slaughter and begin the process of restoring Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves.
Dear President Biden, Personalize your message As you know, the Trump administration stripped Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves across the entire lower 48 on January 4, 2021. If allowed to remain in place, states can expand wolf trophy hunting, trapping, and decimate this still unrecovered species as soon as January 2021. The most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and its state partners show only an estimated 108 wolves in Washington state, 158 in Oregon, and a scant 15 in California. Nevada, Utah, and Colorado have had a few wolf sightings over the past three years, but wolves remain functionally extinct in these states. In delisting wolves, USFWS ignores the science showing they are not recovered in the West. Wolves only occupy a small portion of available, suitable habitat in Oregon and Washington, and remain absent across vast swaths of their historical habitat in the West, including in Colorado and the southern Rockies. The restoration of gray wolves could be a heroic success story, but it will be cut tragically short if wolves lose further protection under the ESA now. We can’t let fragile wolf-recovery efforts to be stalled and allow states, hunters, and trappers to push the species back to the brink of extinction. Please ensure gray wolves have a future by taking immediate action to halt the impending slaughter and begin the process of restoring ESA protections for gray wolves.
WildEarth Guardians protects and restores the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.
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As we endure a multitude of crises and injustices across the United States, the systemic failure of many of the country’s institutions has become glaringly apparent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is one of these failing institutions.
A misnomer, Wildlife Services is anything but helpful to wildlife. Instead, Wildlife Services is a federally-funded wildlife killing program that slaughters native wild animals, almost exclusively at the behest of the livestock industry.
During this time of mass extinction, the killing of over 1 million wild animals annually is not only unjustifiable, it is reckless, particularly when this slaughter involves species that are critical players in delicate ecosystems.
In 2019, alone, Wildlife Services killed approximately 62,000 coyotes, 25,000 beavers, 14,000 prairie dogs (plus 27,000 dens), as well as hundreds of wolves, cougars, bobcats, and many other keystone species that are essential for healthy ecosystems. You can see the astounding level of destruction across the American West by Wildlife Services on our new map.
There are numerous scientifically-proven, cost-effective, nonlethal options for wildlife coexistence. Moreover, nonlethal solutions like range riding and electric fencing have been proven more effective than pre-emptively gunning down thousands of coyotes from an airplane prior to grazing season. Incredibly, even though Wildlife Services has these non-lethal options available, only a small portion of its more than $100 million federal budget is restricted for non-lethal management.
Right now, there are thousands of videos depicting the abuse, torture, neglect, or endangerment of innocent, defenseless animals being hosted on YouTube.
Sign the petition and demand that YouTube remove these videos immediately, and vow to do 100% better when it comes to finding and taking down these horrific videos.
Kittens and puppies intentionally placed in dangerous, terrifying circumstances, often with snakes or alligators, just to be “rescued” in the nick of time.
Monkeys locked in cages or wrapped in chains, their human-like faces expressing fear and pain.
Dogs forced to fight each other to the death, or to viciously hunt animals like foxes, ripping them to shreds after sometimes hours of excruciating, exhausting chase.
YouTube is a massively influential site with more than 30 million users per day, and their choice to leave the above content, a total of 2,053 videos, published and gaining views is deplorable.
But YouTube is all about the views. The animal welfare organization Lady Freethinker found these videos in an independent investigation, and they calculated that these videos have a total of 1.2 BILLION VIEWS, meaning the depictions of violence against animals could be worth up to $12 million in advertising revenue for YouTube. Let’s not forget those views also turn into profits for the creators, the people either complicit in or responsible for all this animal cruelty — up to $15 million for these abusers, to be exact. (You can view and sign the Lady Freethinker petition here.)
Shame on YouTube for rewarding violence towards animals instead of using these videos to identify and crack down on abusers. Shame on YouTube for circulating these traumatic videos to their impressionable viewers, and making money from advertising on them.
YouTube and CEO Susan Wojcicki, you have blood on your hands. But the world is watching, and there is still time to make this right.
Sign the petition demanding that YouTube remove every single video listed in the investigation by Lady Freethinker. Then, use the money you earned from animal cruelty to develop systems that quickly and accurately identify these cruel videos, remove them, and flag the users — aka, abusers — for investigation!
Reverse the Damage the Trump Administration has done to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Executive Branch decisions have all but neutralized the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the last few years, despite a court ruling that its position is against the law and will increase preventable bird deaths. A final blow to the MBTA was dealt by a rule that allows companies and individuals to kill migratory birds as long as “they didn’t mean to1.”
Any industrial activities, including oil waste pits, oil spills, power lines, tailings ponds, and others, will now be exempt from the law1.
This rule comes at a time when scientists have raised alarm over the loss of 3 billion North American birds during the past 50 years. It would end enforcement against incidental take of birds–the predictable and preventable killing of birds by industrial practices–even though last summer a federal judge struck down the Interior Department legal opinion that the new rule seeks to codify2.
The MBTA covers more than 1,000 species, some which are already dwindling to the point of becoming endangered. This measure could lead to billions of bird deaths as they crash into power lines and buildings, or get trapped in oil pits3.
National Audubon Society President David Yarnold said the potential fallout from this decision is largely being ignored at an already trying time in U.S. history.
Birds are being harmed as nesting grounds are destroyed to make way for new developments. In Virginia, 25,000 shorebirds were displaced to make way for a road and tunnel project. State officials had ended conservation measures for the birds after federal officials advised such measures were voluntary under the new interpretation of the law3.
The National Audubon Society and chapters across the country helped pass this bird protection law in 1918. Since then, innumerable species have been saved from extinction. But climate change and habitat destruction have made it even harder to conserve North American bird species. Since 1970 more than 3 billion birds have disappeared, while two-thirds of our bird species are at risk of going extinct4.
Without the MBTA, we could lose many more birds, and if the Trump Administrations’ changes to the MBTA are withheld, we surely will.
Sign the petition below and tell the Administrator of the EPA to restore the MBTA in full, reinstating penalties for companies and individuals who violate this important law.
Dear, Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970 and many more will soon disappear forever if the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is not restored.
The Audubon Society and many others were responsible for writing the MBTA back in 1918. It’s helped bring many birds back from the brink of extinction. Rule changes administered by the Trump Administration have rendered it ineffective, however.To Top
Balloons that are released into the air, both latex and foil, always return to land or water as harmful and potentially deadly litter. The current law in Virginia states that releasing up to 49 balloons is allowable but more than 50 is illegal. We must change this law in the 2021 General Assembly to ban all intentional balloon releases.
The law in Virginia (§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty) currently states that ” It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period fifty or more balloons which are (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material which requires more than five minutes’ contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air.”
Research has shown that balloon-related litter is one of the most common types of litter on Virginia’s remote beaches. In many cases, more than 100 pieces of balloon related litter, including foil & latex balloons, plastic ribbons & attachments such as plastic discs and laminated notes, have been found on one mile of beach.
We must change the Virginia law to ban all balloon releases, even so-called “biodegradable” balloons. The Balloon Council announced in August, 2018 that it no longer supports balloon releases. Cities and towns all over the country are banning balloon releases. If you are from Virginia, please sign this petition so that we can help to reduce this dangerous type of litter in our environment.
Virginia residents: please be sure to share your location information when signing so we can show the Virginia representatives that Virginians want to see this law change. Thank you!
77,277 SUPPORTERS 80,000 GOAL The tight-fitting metal cage suddenly surrounds you. Your heart starts to race as your breathing becomes fast and shallow. Your mind turns fuzzy and blank, realizing there is no escape. This feeling is panicked desperation. And this is what mamas-to-be experience every day in factory farms. Mama-to-be pigs, that is. And it’s all due to the hideous use of gestation crates.
Sign the petition to demand that Smithfield Foods removes all gestation crates from its facilities!
What are gestation crates? They are extremely tight-fitting metal cages that enclose pregnant pigs, known as sows, while they are “with piglet.” Mama-pigs-to-be live for approximately four months at a time in these nearly form-fitting crates, in which they have almost no room to move. The cages are so cramped, the sows cannot turn side-to-side or around, and are barely even able to stand up and sit down. Their excrement piles up beneath and around their legs, and the sounds of animals in pain fill the air all around. The trauma this breeds is immense.
Then, once the mama gives birth to her new litter of baby piglets, the babies are torn away — and the mama is re-impregnated, and thrust back into her familiar, inescapable coffin of a cage. The average sow in this situation is forced to breed and produce more offspring for slaughter five to seven different times.
We might be used to the idea of these types of torturous Medieval enclosures for factory farmed animals, but consider if you yourself were told to live in one of these metal cages — and then, not just for one day, but for months.
Stuffing pregnant animals into such crates is also not the exception. It’s the rule at factory farms. Of all the pigs raised for pork in the U.S., 95 percent come from factory farms. Numerous companies, including Smithfield Foods, have tried to fool consumers by making reassuring promises that they would phase out their use of gestation crates. But now, over five years later, nothing has changed. In other words: it was all just lip service. A lie.
Smithfield Foods, Inc. is the largest producer of pork not just in the U.S., but in the entire world. The corporation murders nearly 30 million pigs every single year. So for them to make such a promise — and to then break it — is especially cruel to the countless forcibly-impregnated mama pigs in their scream-filled facilities.
The only reason Smithfield ever made their (false, mal-intended) promise, though, was because of an outpouring of public outrage. If we can mobilize that public outrage again, Smithfield will realize the world is actually watching and that they have to do the right thing and follow through this time. We have that power!
Help us pressure the giant factory farming corporation Smithfield Foods, Inc. to finally end its use of all gestation crates! Sign the petition!SHARE9.6KTWEETEMAILEMBED
The U.S. has agreed with Canada and Mexico to extend land border restrictions on non-essential travel into September amid continued fears about the coronavirus pandemic.
“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Friday. “Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21.”
The U.S. announced in March that it had agreed with its two neighbors to close its land borders to the north and south to all but essential travel as part of a broad range of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The agreement has been extended a number of times and was due to expire on Aug. 21.
“We already told the United States that we’re of the idea that it’s extended because of what we have along the strip on their side,” Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday, referring to a rise in cases near the U.S. border.
Essential cross-border workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still allowed to cross along the border. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.
Americans who are returning to the U.S. are exempted from the closure at the U.S.-Canada border.
It is one of a number of travel-related restrictions that countries have taken in order to curb the spread of the virus. In the U.S., President Trump barred nationals from China, Iran, Brazil, the European Union and the U.K. from coming into the U.S.
The administration has also taken further action on illegal immigration and asylum-seekers, taking measures to quickly return them back to their home countries with minimal, if any, time in detention.
On September 27, 2011, in a dank and filthy circus camp in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, a 24 year old female elephant named Chanda gave birth to her second calf, a tiny baby girl named Suman. Suman’s father Bijli – a magnificent bull despite his missing left tusk – was also at the circus. Further off, her older sister stood restrained uncomfortably by both her feet, her head swaying monotonously.
That night signaled the beginning of Suman’s story, one that has been riddled with terror, suffering and fear – despite just being 6 years old.
In 2013, two years after she was born, Suman, Chanda and Bijli were illegally sold by the Moonlight Circus to the father of a man named Sameer ‘Ballu’ Khan, and illegally trafficked across state borders to the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan. The transfer of ownership of the elephants was done without any of the requisite paperwork, those involved being wholly aware of the illegality of what they were doing.
Today, Sameer Khan, who inherited the elephants from his father is widely regarded as the most cruel of all the elephant owners in Jaipur, a city widely regarded as the most cruel place in the country to the over 100 elephants that are held captive and exploited there. Horrifying footage and stories of him mercilessly beating his elephants with weapons including axes, burning the delicate footpads of their feet and of the number of his elephants that seem to die early, unnatural deaths emerge constantly, leaving us in no doubt of the authenticity of the claims of his evil disregard for the lives of the gentle giants he exploits for money.
A year passes, and the cruelty baby Suman experiences over these days is only an initiation into what she is going to go through in the coming years, and possibly the rest of her life. She is being indoctrinated into captivity, undergoing a brutal process aptly called ‘breaking the spirit’ of the elephant, to prepare her for a life of subservience to cruel human masters. Then, in 2014, Suman finds herself being transported to the state of Gujarat to star in a TV show. The process of training her for the show, and the conditions she is forced to live in during shooting result in animal welfare groups campaigning for the shows end and Suman being relieved from her exploitation. Abruptly, the show is taken off-air and the baby elephant is returned back to Jaipur.
Chanda(Elephant 112) carrying tourists at the Amer Fort
Another year passes, Suman is housed near her mother, but restrained so tightly she can’t reach her. Her father Bijli is rented out to weddings and processions, much in demand being one of the only two bulls in the city. His missing tusk is camouflaged with a heavy false tusk, fixed awkwardly onto him and hidden under heavy, uncomfortable and gaudy decorations. Chanda, the mother, also spends her days garishly caparisoned at the Amer Fort, slowly and excruciatingly making her way up the arduous climb to the top of the fort with a heavy carrier pressing down on her protruding spine, filled with tourists and a handler that keeps a sharpened stick always at the ready to punish her for any steps out of place or exhausted resistance.
TheNut Herd rescued & moved to the WSOS ECCC from the ‘Moonlight Circus.’
In 2015, the three elephants’ original home – The Moonlight Circus – is shut down on grounds of legal violations and the four elephants still in the circus, including Suman’s sister, are rescued by Wildlife SOS and taken to our rescue centre in Mathura to live out the rest of their lives surrounded by people that care for them, and other elephants, receiving medical care, and every amenity they need to thrive in their new home. The elephants are nicknamed the Nutherd, and the youngest of these four elephants, the first daughter of Bijli and Chanda, is named Peanut – the much adored baby of the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre.
Shortly after we rescued the Nutherd, and Peanut, we found out she had a sister, and that her parents were in captivity too – we investigated the claims, and followed multiple leads till dead ends, before stumbling upon the three elephants in Jaipur – exploited, tortured and denied everything, including each other’s company. It broke our hearts. Peanut’s rescue, her gradual development into the naughty, wonderful and gleeful young calf she is today gives us so much joy, but in the back of our hearts, Suman’s story – and that of her parents – casts a depressing shadow. We have to get her out.
Last year, we introduced Suman tentatively to our supporters – but use the name Hazel and cropped pictures of her to avoid risking the lives of our sources and jeopardizing her rescue. All the while we struggle to gather intelligence on the elephant – she is hidden away now, chained in a basement that she is never allowed to leave. We hear heartbreaking stories of how she is no longer allowed to see her mother because they both get so overwhelmed and cry when they see each other. We hear she ran amuck when she was taken out last, she’s a baby elephant so it isn’t at all surprising that she still has a little spirit left in her – but that ever since then, she isn’t even taken out anymore, just tightly restrained by two feet in the dungeon that is her home now.
Chanda, mother of Suman and Peanut.
She sways her head miserably, monotonously. She’s stressed, bored and scared – worst of all she is alone, except for humans that hurt her. At the fort, and at tourist spots across the city, Chanda lugs tourists around on her back in the blistering heat, her footpads searing on the hot tarred roads and rocky streets. She must be in unimaginable anguish, but the pain of losing her babies – twice – must be infinitely worse. As a bull, Bijli is hidden away, likely being beaten regularly to keep him submissive, despite all the anguish humans have imparted him.
Bijli, father of Suman and Peanut.
Their status in Jaipur is never legalized, since their sale and transport was illegal, but the government, the Forest Department, everyone entrusted with ensuring their welfare, seems oblivious to their existence. Attempts are made to sell them which we manage to put a hold on, even as attempts are made to obtain false documents for the three.
Just as the authorities turn a blind eye to the plight of these three elephants, they turn a deaf ear to our repeated attempts to reach out to them for help. Tourism drives the city of Jaipur, and the elephants drive tourism – a government that takes a stand to actually enforce the law for the welfare of these animals also stands to lose favor amongst the locals, and a lot of tourism money.
We feel helpless, but we cannot give up on Suman and her family. As a baby, she is faced with an uncertain future – either 50 years of abuse, beatings, neglect and fear or 50 years of safety, kindness, veterinary care and love from people and other elephants at our rescue centre. Five decades of cruelty, or five decades of care. We are reaching out to our supporters, and elephant lovers across the world to stand strong for Suman and ensure her future is safe with us – please join us in imploring the authorities in Jaipur to save Suman and her family and reunite her with her sister in ECCC.
The information we have shows that we can’t wait any longer for the authorities to take action and we need international pressure to speak out on behalf of Suman and her family. Their freedom will come with international pressure.
Stay informed- we will be doing regular updates with new ways you can help.
Boycott elephant attractions in Jaipur like the Amer Fort and report to your travel agent/guide that the reason you don’t want to go is because of the cruelty inflicted upon the elephants there.
However, if you or someone you know is visiting Jaipur- tell them to keep an eye out for elephant 112 carrying tourists up to the fort, a baby elephant and male elephant with one tusk missing (although he is sometimes fixed with a prosthetic tusk.). Very few male elephants live in Jaipur so there is a high likelihood that any males could be Bijli. Send information to us at email@example.com
We will be doing everything we can to keep an eye on these elephants. We will be spending what we can on a public awareness and pressure campaign to help these elephants get freedom.
Speak up, push hard, and raise your voices against this injustice – bring Suman and her family, a family that has already suffered so much pain and loss, out of the darkness and towards a better, kinder future!
Boasting some of the richest biodiversity in the world, Australia is estimated to be home to as many as 300,000 different species of animals. In such company, it takes a truly iconic animal to fill the role of Australia’s national animal — and the kangaroo certainly lives up to the task. Immediately recognizable are their long, powerful legs, allowing them to travel over six feet per leap, and the pouch they sport on their belly for carrying their young. But even their emblem status does not keep them safe from the whims of humans. Kangaroo skin, strong but light, has long been sought after for things like football (or soccer in the U.S.) cleats, baseball mitts, and many types of gloves. California, a U.S. state known for leading the way in animal welfare policy, was ahead of its time when it banned the sale of products made from kangaroo skin all the way back in 1971. But in 2020, an investigation discovered that some huge brands thought they were above the law. Nike and Puma have both been selling kangaroo leather products in California despite the ban!
Sign the petition today if you want Nike and Puma to do the right thing and abide by California law! Tell them to stop selling kangaroo leather products in the state, and commit to phasing out the use of kangaroo leather company-wide!
These kangaroos are ripped from the wild, stolen from their families and lush homes. The Australian government dictates that kangaroo hunting must be done with a firearm, which is cruel enough — but when it comes to the most vulnerable, like babies or adult kangaroos that are already wounded, the cruelty is amplified. These poor animals have their heads severed from their bodies, or they are painfully bludgeoned to death. The officially stated reason for this heinous method is to “destroy the brain,” and apparently any semblance of humanity. California’s law is an indirect attempt to curb this brutality. Companies like Nike and Puma disregarding said law puts pain and profit above compassion and animal welfare.
Ideally, kangaroo leather would be totally banned worldwide. With advanced technology and a wide variety of synthetic materials at our disposal, using the skin from innocent animals for our luxury sport equipment is simply outdated and cruel. But passing laws that keep these products off the shelves is the right step towards making them obsolete, and Californai did that! But statewide laws can be difficult to enforce when these companies sell to states and nations all over the world. That means that it is Nike and Puma’s responsibility to do the right thing and abide by the law! They have the time, money, and resources to do so — any noncompliance is a result of negligence, apathy, and a gross misuse of power.
If we speak out enough, we can really get Nike and Puma where it matters most — in their profits. Let’s make sure that they know we are watching, and until they decide to put animal welfare first, we won’t rest! Sign the petition and demand that Nike and Puma comply with California law, halting the sale of products made with kangaroo skin in the state, and then take it one step further by phasing out all kangaroo leather products!
Today is #WorldLionDay 🦁. Farming lions is big business. Cubs are bred for tourists to pet & adults are sold for canned hunts. The cubs on this South African farm are suffering from a neurological disorder & are unable to walk. Animal farms only care about 💰💰💰.#AnimalLeakspic.twitter.com/OpMf1X2cii
MR PRESIDENT: SHUT DOWN YOUR BIG CAT FACTORY FARMS!
In 2019, the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting exposed how a South African company was breeding TIGER cubs… and then selling sick tiger trophy hunts.
We also revealed that there are now a staggering 300 factory farms in South Africa breeding LIONS in cages – for trophy hunters to kill for “fun”.
The animals are shot in fenced enclosures where they have NO CHANCE of escape. Their bones are often sold onto Asian dealers for so-called traditional Chinese ‘medicines’.
In our latest investigation, we reveal how over 17,000 tigers and tiger body parts have been traded or seized over the past 5 years. Over 80% were destined for the traditional Chinese ‘medicine’ market.
The figure includes a number of tigers that were shot in South Africa by trophy hunters …
We can also reveal that South Africa now breeds LEOPARDS – so they can be shot by trophy hunters for fun, and their skins sold to traders.
Leading conservationists and politicians from around the world are backing the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting’s call to BAN this sick trade.
Now we are launching this mass petition to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. The South African government has just announced it is appointing a high-level ‘panel of experts’ to review its policies on breeding wild animals for trophy hunters to kill for kicks, and the terrible trade in lion bones and leopard skins.
We say: It’s time to BAN this wicked trade and CLOSE these sick Big Cat ‘Factory Farms’ NOW!
Please sign and share this petition – and help save endangered big cats TODAY!
To: Cyril Ramaphosa, President – South Africa From: [Your Name]
I call on you to CLOSE South Africa’s Big Cat Factory Farms.
Breeding lion and tiger cubs to be cuddled for cash and killed for kicks is IMMORAL. It is a stain on South Africa’s standing in the world.
It is time to end the big cat bone trade and to ban trophy hunting altogether.
Please act TODAY – for the good of wildlife, and for the good of South Africa’s reputation.
For far too long the federal government has used our hard-earned tax dollars to slaughter native wildlife on public lands. Tell your representative and senators this all-out war on wildlife and public safety must stop today. Download our advocacy kit to learn more ways you can join us to end the war on wildlife.
Please note: In order to send this form to your senators and representative, all fields must be completed, including title and phone number. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your support on this issue.
Cook Inlet belugas are on the brink of extinction – but we can help them right now by keeping toxic waste out of their home.
These belugas are declining, and as a small population, every loss severely impacts the group’s chance of survival. Experts believe that pollution could be one of the barriers standing between these whales and recovery.
But the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency responsible for issuing Clean Water Act permits, hasn’t stood in the way of toxic waste dumping in Cook Inlet. One corporation, Hilcorp, has been allowed to dump waste in Cook Inlet for years – the only place in U.S. waters where this kind of dumping is allowed.
With the survival of endangered belugas on the line, we can’t wait to act.
Send a message to the ADEC: Stop permitting toxic waste dumping in Cook Inlet that threatens marine wildlife!
The United States has a total coastline of around 95,471 miles, and 23 states and all five major territories have coasts of their own.
The mainland U.S. has the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north of Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico towards the southeast.
Coastal areas are some of the most important habitat for migratory birds, nesting sea turtles, kelp forest-loving sea otters, sea ice-dependent seals and polar bears, anadromous fish like salmon, Florida manatees and many other species.
Intertidal zones are areas of the shore that are above the water at low tide and below at high tide, like some estuaries and rocky tide pools. These areas are important habitat for invertebrates like abalone that often form the base of the food web along coasts.
Coasts and intertidal zones are facing a barrage of threats, but climate change-related impacts are decimating coasts around the country. Sea level rise, erosion, strengthening storms, ocean acidification and rising temperatures are just some of the threats facing coastal and intertidal zones.
When storms rip through coastal areas, they destroy important habitat and deposit silt and debris across the coast. Intense pollution is running down river systems from agricultural areas, cities, and mining and coal ash plants, creating dead zones and spreading disease in estuaries and coastal areas.
Massive conversion of coastal wetlands and shoreline has destroyed important estuaries and nearshore habitat that serve as nurseries for fish and wildlife. Millions of tons of plastic pollution are clogging our oceans, drowning and choking marine mammals and breaking down into microplastics so fine that they are showing up in the tissue of fish and in zooplankton.
Offshore drilling threatens cetaceans with seismic testing and the risk of an oil spill is omnipresent. As we saw with Exxon Valdez and BP, it’s not a matter of if, but when, another spill will occur. When oil spills, no wildlife or habitat is spared, and the effects are felt decades later.
In our field offices and in the national and international arenas, we fight every day to ensure the survival of iconic marine species. By protecting these charismatic species, we also protect their marine and coastal habitats, as these species cannot survive and thrive except as interconnected parts of healthy and vibrant ecosystems.
Our experts work with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as other federal, state, tribal and private entities to restore and protect fragile systems to provide marine and coastal species with the habitat they need for their continued survival in the face of climate change.
We also work with local and coastal communities to increase awareness and understanding of wildlife coexistence tools and to oppose offshore drilling. Where necessary, we use our legal tools to ensure that federal, state and local governments comply with their obligations to protect marine wildlife species and their habitats.
People love to live by the water. For centuries, cities like New York, Miami, Honolulu and San Francisco have attracted residents and tourists from around the world. In fact, almost half of the U.S. population lives in counties on the coast, and that percentage is growing in footprint, density, number and population, reshaping and hardening coastlines in the process.
Coasts also provide habitat for great numbers of plants and animals and are typically biodiversity hotspots. But all this coastal development is reducing the amazing biodiversity along our shorelines.
Development has also reduced our coasts’ natural ability to resist and recover from natural disasters and has removed habitat that provides shelter for wildlife and ecosystem services for humans. Traditional coastal defenses like sea walls and levees are widely used to protect communities, but these artificial coastal barriers can lead to significant erosion or unwanted sediment deposition and negatively impact water quality. They are also time-consuming to build and cost billions to construct, maintain and repair.
Increasingly, engineers and planners are starting to pay more attention to the potential of “Nature and Nature-Based Features” (NNBFs) as environmentally friendly solutions—like mangrove forests, beach dunes, coral reefs and wetlands—that fulfill the same roles as an important weapon in the fight against coastal storms and flooding.
D. Rex Miller
NNBFs include natural defenses and human-built features that mimic them. Using NNBFs in coastal development decisions can therefore mean constructing new ones or protecting existing natural ones. NNBFs are often cheaper and require less maintenance and management. They can also make communities more resilient to climate change by adapting to changes in the environment. They are part of the larger concept of “green infrastructure,” or attempting to harness nature’s resilience to solve human problems. And its not all-or-nothing – NNBFs can complement artificial coastal infrastructure.
NNBFs like wetlands are essential to protect coasts from storm surges because they can store and slow the release of floodwaters, reducing erosion and damage to buildings. One study found that salt marshes can reduce wave height by an average of 72%. Coral reefs can serve as a barrier and reduce wave height by an average of 70%. These reefs protect coastal cities near them such as Honolulu and Miami, saving lives and preventing monetary damage.
Megan Joyce/Defenders of Wildlife
When Superstorm Sandy slammed the Northeast in 2012, homes on beaches fairly near to sand dunes were protected by these natural buffers, which can blunt the force of waves and wind. In many cases, homes on beach areas where dunes had been removed (often to improve ocean views) were completely destroyed by Sandy. Removing many of the mangroves that lined Biscayne Bay in South Florida may have helped spur economic development. However, it also removed another natural barrier against storm surge. This increased vulnerability of homes and businesses to the hurricanes that frequently hit Miami. Coastal communities in Indonesia hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami that had removed their mangrove forests suffered more damage and more lost lives than areas where mangroves had been allowed to remain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on a number of projects that look at features like mangroves and their ability to protect coasts.
Image Image Credit David Bocanegra/USFWS
Image Image Credit Lia McLaughlin/USFWS
Image Image Credit Greg Thompson/USFWS Damage from Hurricane Sandy at Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, homes on the Jersey Shore
Bringing Wildlife Back
People are not the only ones who can benefit from NNBF. Restoring or protecting habitat can bring back habitat for wildlife and provide space for wildlife to live alongside coastal human communities. This includes imperiled species.
For example, coastal dunes restoration can improve habitat for threatened species like the piping plover, red knot and seabeach amaranth. Restoring mangroves can help protect species like the wood stork and American alligator, and the endangered hawksbill turtle. Protecting coral reefs can help threatened elkhorn and boulder star corals, and ensure habitat remains for the hawksbill sea turtle. People and wildlife can both have space.
Image Image Credit FWS
Image Image Credit Steve Brooks
Image Image Credit Michele Hoffman
NNBFs can also improve water quality. Much of the rainwater and flood water that goes on vegetation or sand will sink into the ground where it is cleaned. Healthy coral reefs and healthy mangroves help improve marine waters. And by avoiding artificial coastal defenses, polluted runoff can be avoided. Improving water quality can help marine imperiled species. For example, manatees in Florida have been devastated by red tide in recent years. Similarly, water quality issues can stress or kill threatened corals that need clear water for photosynthesis. Even species far offshore, like orca, can be hurt by contaminated runoff from development. Creating habitat for wildlife can even have additional economic benefits beyond coastal protection. It can offer opportunities for economic activity like kayaking, fishing and birding.
Image Image Credit Andrew S. Wright/USFWS
Image Image Credit NPS
The Future of NNBF
In recent years, the U.S. Congress has become interested in the potential of NNBFs, instructing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to incorporate NNBFs into coastal defense projects where appropriate. The Corps’ research and development center has taken a leading role in researching NNBFs. Through its engineering with nature initiative, it has developed numerous projects exploring NNBFs’ potential. However, the regional offices have made less progress in taking advantage of NNBFs in their coastal defense projects. NNBFs should be a priority for the Corps and coastal communities around the country – and the world.
Advocating for NNBFs is part of Defenders of Wildlife’s mission to protect habitat and we believe they are a strong tool for addressing the overall biodiversity crisis faced by the planet.
Senior Conservation Policy Analyst Andrew works on wildlife conservation policy at the Center for Conservation Innovation, where he researches and analyzes conservation governance strategies and emerging policy issues, and works with other CCI members to develop innovative approaches to habitat and species protection.
Senegalese fishermen who once profited from poaching, are now protecting highly-endangered sea turtles in the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Joal-Fadiouth, a 57-square-mile area that serves as a safe place for vulnerable marine species.
Sea turtles routinely migrate to this stretch of the Atlantic Ocean along the West African coast, and turtle meat has long been considered a culinary delicacy in the area. In an effort to stop people from killing these beautiful creatures, the former poachers spend time educating people about the turtles’ crucial role in the marine ecosystem through a series of public awareness and activism campaigns. They also patrol the protected area, where they help turtles caught in fishing nets by disentangling and releasing them back into the ocean.
“We went from being poachers, the biggest turtle eaters, to being the biggest turtle protectors,” Abdou Karim Sall, who manages the protected zone, said. “Not all fishermen have turned away from turtles, and when the fishing is not good, some even hunt them.”
The Senegalese government, local authorities, and various organizations are working together to provide economic incentives to those who transition from poaching to protecting in communities that are historically dependent on fishing industry revenue for survival.
Thank you to the dedicated workers, who repurposed their seafaring skills to help save sea turtles from the brink of extinction.
Endangered marine life will soon be massacred with dynamite in Brazil in the name of economic progress. Not only is the Amazon river basin home to countless species, but it is also a food source for locals. Demand that this heinous plan be shut down.
Atlanta, GA – Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has announced seven felony charges – including murder – against former Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks at Wendy’s on Friday night. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the shooting, but Howard was quick to file charges against Rolfe. This is a blatant disregard for due process and “innocent until proven guilty.”
This was a completely justified shooting and the officers life was on the line. Now he’s being dragged through the dirt and facing murder charges for defending himself. We need to defend his rights! #JusticeForRolfe
Ashley Anderson posted this on Facebook, and I think it’s worth reading.
I’ve prayed about this for the past few days and decided it was finally time…
I’m done. I’m done. I. Am. Done… For the last week our family has been through hell. (other police families know exactly what I’m talking about) I’ve never been one to stir anything up on social media. I’d rather talk one-on-one, but this is absolutely crazy right now! I’m not posting to argue or change your opinion (I know I can’t do that on fb). I’m breaking my silence to say that the portrayal of Police on TV is not right! It’s not what is actually happening on the streets! And the overall disrespect and hate being thrown at them is unbelievable! STOP IT!!!!
The Police are just as saddened by George Floyd’s death as anyone.
The MGM plan released Tuesday offered a first look at how Atlantic City casinos plan to operate to protect both employees and guests from the coronavirus.
The new rules include:
— Daily temperature checks for all employees, as well as screening measures to determine whether they have infection symptoms and where they are in contact with those who have been infected, such as someone in their household or someone they care for.
— Guests who think they may have been exposed will be “strongly encouraged” to stay at home and not travel.
— All employees must wear masks, and all guests will be encouraged to do so in public areas. The casino will hand out free masks to guests.
— Workers will be trained on proper cleaning procedures and other steps to protect against the virus.
— Employees who handle food, clean public areas and enter guest rooms must wear gloves. Other workers also may required to wear personal protective equipment.
— Guests still will be able to order beverages but not food on the casino floor, and can remove their masks to drink.
— Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of slot machines, tables and kiosks.
— Stations for handwashing and hand sanitizing in high-traffic areas.
— A six-foot social distancing policy will be followed whenever possible, with signs and floor guides to help separate patrons. In areas where the distancing policy cannot be followed, plexiglass barriers will be installed or employees will be given eye protection.
— Poker rooms may not reopen when the rest of the casino does, depending on guidance from state officials and medical experts.
— Plexiglass barriers throughout the casino and lobbies.
— Medical personnel on staff to respond in case a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Exposed areas will be sanitized and efforts will be made for contact tracing, notifying those who may have been in contact with the individual.
— Limits on how many people can share an elevator cab.
— Allowing guests to check in to their hotel rooms digitally without having contact with anyone at the front desk.
— Digital menus and text notifications when tables are ready, eliminating the need to wait in line.
It remains to be seen if the steps are sufficient to win the approval of Unite Here, the union that represents 10,600 Atlantic City workers. Their plan called for having the state gaming commission ensure that the casinos were taking the necessary steps to protect employees and guests.
The union said that the six-foot distance between customers needed to be followed at slot machines and table games, dice and chips needed to be frequently sanitized, buffets needed to be suspended and spas and pools needed to close temporarily.
“It’s good that the company is talking about it, but we need them to work in partnership with frontline workers to come up with a full plan to protect guest and workers,” said Mayra Gonzalez, a line server at Borgata and a member of Unite Here.
by: Care2 Team recipient: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Update: Yet another U.S. cosmetics manufacturer, Beauty Plus Global (BPG), has had to recall its products bcause they were contaminated with toxic asbestos. In fact, this is actually the second time in five months that BPG has had to recall its products due to lethal contaminants. It’s time the U.S. FDA gets its act together, takes health seriously, and ban the use of asbestos in cosmetics now! Recently, jewelry and makeup retailer Claire’s Accessories recalled several cosmetic products after a customer raised concerns that they may contain asbestos. Thankfully, Claire’s Accessories was committed to taking the allegations seriously and having an independent lab test the products for asbestos, but how would asbestos get into the cosmetics in the first place? Well, it turns out that, despite its many known health risks, asbestos is not banned from use in cosmetic products. Please sign this petition to change that now. While it is against the law to use any ingredient in a cosmetic that makes the product harmful to consumers when used as directed, asbestos is not specifically included in the list of ingredients prohibited from use in cosmetics. But it absolutely should be. Once asbestos fibers enter the body, they never dissolve and can cause inflammation and permanent changes to the body’s cells. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and mesothelioma. The U.S. is far behind when it comes to restricting the use of harmful chemicals in personal care products. Whereas the E.U. has banned 1,400 chemicals and Canada has banned 600, the U.S. has banned just 30 harmful chemicals. We need to catch up.
A North Atlantic right whale swims in Cape Cod Bay.
Peter Flood In a ruling that could have a major impact on the region’s lobster fishery, a federal judge ruled Thursday that the National Marine Fishery Service violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to reduce the risk of North Atlantic right whales becoming entangled in millions of lobster lines. The lines, which extend from traps on the seafloor to buoys on the surface, have in recent years been the leading cause of death for the whales, whose numbers have declined by about 20 percent over the past decade to a population of just 400. Without significant changes to the lobster fishery, right whales could go extinct within two decades, scientists say. The ruling by Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court in Washington, D.C., found that the agency’s failure to follow the law, after its scientists found that the lobster fishery was threatening the viability of right whales, was “about as straightforward a violation of the [Endangered Species Act] as they come.”
Environmental advocates who filed the lawsuit said they hoped the decision would lead to greater protections for right whales. “This decision confirms that even the federal government is not above the law,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation, one of four groups that filed the lawsuit. “We must do whatever it takes to ensure right whales are here for future generations, and that starts with obeying the Endangered Species Act.” Scientists at the agency have said that the species can’t sustain more than one unnatural death a year. Over the past three years, 30 right whales have been found dead, and when a cause of death was determined, all of them were found to have died as a result of entanglements or vessel strikes.
In a 20-page ruling, Boasberg called the agency’s failure to produce what is known as an incidental take statement — a requirement of the Endangered Species Act when the government finds that an industry or other actor has been threatening the sustainability of an endangered species — a “signal omission.” Buoy lines pose “an especially grave danger to the species,” he added. The judge noted that in 2014 the agency estimated that lobster lines would lead to more than three whale deaths a year, on average. “The figure was well over the … maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock, while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population,” he wrote.
Boasberg called the agency’s arguments for why they failed to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act “a novel interpretation of the law.” “Defendants cannot rewrite the statute just because they do not agree with its consequences,” he said. Agency officials declined to comment on the potential impact of the judge’s ruling. “NOAA Fisheries is currently reviewing the court’s decision,” said Allison Ferreira, a spokeswoman for the fisheries service. Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, said she was “carefully” reviewing the ruling.
“The MLA expects to submit a briefing to the court during the remedy phase of this proceeding to protect the rights and livelihood of the lobstermen it represents,” she said. Jane Davenport, a senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington-based advocacy group and another plaintiff, called the ruling “timely,” noting that just 10 calves were born this year, about a third of the number needed to prevent the species from going extinct. “Low calving rates are directly linked to the chronic stress of fishing gear entanglements,” she said. In his decision, Boasberg didn’t say what the agency must do now. But he said he would seek briefings about potential remedies soon. Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, another plaintiff, said the decision “should send a clear signal that federal officials must take immediate action to protect these amazing animals from suffering more deadly, painful entanglements, before it’s too late.”
Researchers at the New England Aquarium also welcomed the ruling. “We have seen firsthand the trauma this species has suffered from fishing gear entanglements,” they said in a statement. “It has been incredibly challenging to witness their suffering and decline while also getting pushback from fishing industry representatives who remain resistant to considering changes to how they presently fish.”
In a Saturday afternoon press conference, the White House coronavirus task force warned that Americans should consider avoiding leaving their homes this week as the deadly outbreak, which has so far infected more than 300,000 and killed nearly 9,000, is expected to reach its peak.
“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Saturday. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe.”
Although the White House coronavirus team was reticent to put a timeline on the virus itself, at least three regions of the United States — the midwest, the northeast, and the areas surrounding New Orleans, Louisiana — are projected to reach peak infections within the next seven days, according to the New York Post. Other areas of the United States, like the south and west, are expected to see their numbers rise until they hit a peak within the next fourteen days.
“Asked when the worst day of the outbreak will be, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, talked about the three hotspots being watched most closely: Detroit, Louisiana and New York. She said each are on the upside of their curve of mortality, and that officials anticipate them hitting their peaks in the next six to seven days,” per NPR.
“This will probably be the toughest week – between this week and next week,” President Donald Trump told the press conference, grimly. “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately…there will be death.”
“We are coming up to a time that is going to be very horrendous,” Trump added. “We probably have never seen anything like these kind of numbers. Maybe during the war, during a World War One or Two or something.”
New York governor Andrew Cuomo expressed similar sentiments during his own press conference Saturday, noting that the peak appears to be approaching in his state: “We’re not yet at the apex, we’re getting closer … Our reading of the projections is we’re somewhere in the seven-day range.”
Sunday morning, administration officials were no more rosy. The Surgeon General, appearing on Fox News Sunday, compared the coming seven days to a terrorist attack.
“This is going to be hardest and the saddest week of most American’s lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said.
The president was, at least, bullish on the idea of the country reopening within the foreseeable future, suggesting on Saturday that he is pursuing the possibility of bringing together a second coronavirus team, this one tasked with laying the groundwork for an economic recovery, and plotting how to slowly return Americans to the workforce, while balancing the threat of a second outbreak.
“At a certain point,” the president said, “some hard decisions are going to have to be made,” referencing the idea that risk management efforts, designed to contain the virus, are having an unprecedented impact on American businesses. “Social distancing” policies and state-mandated lockdowns have created an unemployment crisis; millions of Americans have now applied for unemployment and millions more are facing slowdowns and pay reductions.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard