No. 1190, April 27, 2023
Victory for Bears and Trees in Montana
Last month the Center for Biological Diversity and allies went to court to halt a logging project threatening grizzly bears in Montana’s Kootenai National Forest.
A federal judge sided with us and the bears, saying the agencies involved hadn’t properly studied how it could hurt grizzlies. Only 42 of these burly bears remain in this forest, and four of them (including a mother with cubs) live in the proposed logging site. The project, known as the Knotty Pine timber sale, would allow logging on more than 5,000 acres of public land — including massive clearcuts. It would also create miles of new roads, which are extra deadly for grizzlies.
This week’s decision keeps the bears safe until the judge gives a final ruling.
Help us keep fighting for grizzlies and other wildlife with a gift to our Saving Life on Earth Fund. Donate now, and it’ll be matched dollar for dollar.
Help Forests Fight Climate Change
Besides providing crucial habitat for wildlife like fishers, martens and spotted owls, old forests on federal lands play an essential role in fighting climate change. But instead of protecting these forests, the U.S. government routinely lets them be chopped down.
Finally, after more than a year of advocacy by the Center and partners, the U.S. Forest Service has started the process of making a rule to protect federally managed old forests, following an order from President Biden. It just started the process of making a rule to protect federally managed old forests. Now the Biden administration is taking public comments to guide that rule’s development.
Good News for Southern Resident Orcas
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has voted to advance a petition from the Center and allies calling on the state to safeguard beloved Southern Resident orcas, of whom only 73 remain.
Thanks to years of work by the Center, our partners, and supporters like you, these unique, intelligent whales are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, but they’re still threatened by dwindling Chinook salmon runs, pollution, and vessel traffic.
“Southern Resident orcas are one step closer to getting the protection they need in Oregon, thanks to the wildlife commission’s leadership,” said the Center’s Quinn Read. “This is an encouraging sign that Oregon has moved from the sidelines of orca recovery onto the field of play.”
Win for a Wetland Flower in the Desert
Following legal action by the Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just announced protection for the rare Wright’s marsh thistle, including critical habitat safeguards for the imperiled wetlands it calls home.
This beautiful plant can reach 8 feet tall and has vibrant pink flowers. Sadly it’s threatened by grazing, oil and gas drilling, climate-change-fueled drought, and more. Though the Service recognized its need for protection in 2010, the thistle sat on the agency’s waiting list for 13 years.
“Saving the Wright’s marsh thistle from extinction in a hotter, drier world would also help us protect humanity,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson. “Many of the steps we take to preserve species like this one will also help people cope with our rapidly changing planet.”
Lydia Millet in The New York Times
For Earth Day this year, Center writer Lydia Millet collaborated with photographer Christopher Valentine and New York Times editor Peter Catapano to create “Elegy for an Altered Planet,” a poetic photo essay on the intersection of people and nature across the United States.
As an elegy, of course it’s sad. But it also offers humor, beauty, and intriguing facts about history and science. Check it out (for free) at this special link.
Lawsuit Challenges Massive Warehouse Project
The Center just sued the city of American Canyon, California, for carelessly approving a 2.4-million-square-foot warehouse project that would pollute the air, worsen the climate crisis, and pave over wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Besides threatening protected species like Swainson's hawks and golden eagles, the project would spew 21,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and require more than 200,000 truck trips every year.
“It’s alarming that the city is willing to let an industrial development of this scale take over a biodiversity hotspot without carefully considering the consequences,” said Center attorney Frances Tinney.
Revelator: Uplifting Big Cat Tales
Need a lift? Head to The Revelator for some feel-good stories on big cats making big strides on several continents. You’ll learn about newborn cheetah cubs in India, a stunning lioness seen in a Chad national park for the first time in 20 years, Florida panther glamor-shot stamps, and the first-ever scientific study on Siberian tigers’ unique personalities.
That’s Wild: The Feelings of Bees
Scientists have only recently begun studying the tiny brains of bees. But as bee expert and ecologist Stephen Buchmann just told The Guardian,these crucial pollinators feel complex emotions such as pleasure and fear and can process long-term memories while sleeping — which, as well as being fascinating in and of itself, could have far-reaching ethical implications for how people treat them. And may even mean they dream.
According to Buchmann’s new book What a Bee Knows:“Bees are self-aware. … They solve problems and can think.”
Center for Biological Diversity | Saving Life on Earth
Photo credits: Grizzly bear cub courtesy NPS; California spotted owl by Rick Kuyper/USFWS; Southern Resident orca by Monika Weiland Sheilds/Shutterstock; Wright's marsh thistle by devoncox/iNaturalist; skull and sunflower by Christopher Valentine; golden eagle by J. Glover/Wikimedia; cheetah by Eli H. Walker/Cheetah Conservation Fund; bee pollinating flower by James Johnstone/Flickr.
Center for Biological Diversity
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Tucson, AZ 85702