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The Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife today filed a lawsuit in federal court in Arizona against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Interior Department for denying Endangered Species Act protection to cactus ferruginous pygmy owls, which have dwindled to fewer than 50 birds in Arizona. The fierce little owl was denied protection under a new Obama administration policy that makes it far more difficult for species at risk of extinction in important portions of their range to gain federal protection. The groups argued in a 2007 petition that the owl should be protected because it is endangered across the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico.
After significant public opposition and in the face of legal challenges from Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation organizations, today the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) withdrew its permit to allow an annual commercial “predator derby” to take place on millions of acres of public lands in Idaho, beginning this January.
Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service published the final environmental impact statement for a new rule that will govern management of Mexican gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. Parts of the new rule would keep the wolves out of important habitats, cap the population at an artificially low level, and allow more killing of the critically endangered animals. There are currently only about 83 Mexican gray wolves in the wild in the southwest United States, and this rule will continue to hamper recovery of this most endangered wolf.
A deadline for expanding critical habitat protections for the North Atlantic right whale has been set in response to a legal settlement agreement.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today confirmed that the wolf-like animal seen near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab National Forest earlier this month is in fact a gray wolf. The wolf has been identified through DNA analysis of scat as a female gray wolf from the Rocky Mountains. The Service will begin the process of comparing the DNA to that of known wolves in the Rockies. According to the Service this wolf traveled at least 450 miles to reach suitable habitat in the Grand Canyon region. Gray wolves are currently federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Arizona.
Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in California denied an application for a large scale solar project in the Mojave Desert’s Silurian Valley near Death Valley National Park – a decision that results in the continued protection of thousands of acres of important desert land habitat for imperiled wildlife including desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and migratory birds.
The Wildlife Management Institute has released its report on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Program.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) today announced the introduction of the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act. This bill strives to bring accountability to polluters, while protecting jobs and re-investing in critical priorities like climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience released recommendations for climate change preparation.
As dreams of a wet, El Niño winter fade and California heads into a possible fourth consecutive year of drought, a coalition of 15 environmental, fishing and public policy organizations released a set of recommended actions to modernize California’s water system and respond to the drought.