Marching Toward Extinction
I N S I D E T H I S ISSUE
● Want science? Don’t look
to this admininistation
Ensuring world’s penguins won’t perish means ● Program News ...page 4
reckoning with global climate change
● From D.C.: Legislative
s Mumble, the star penguin to the 12 species and factors Update on the ESA ...page 7
in the animated movie “Happy contributing to those declines,
Feet,” tap-danced his way into was the first step toward ● Rescuing wolves from a
the hearts of millions of movie-goers securing Endangered Species Act politically-defined predator
over the Thanksgiving weekend, protection for the penguins. control program ...page 8
the Center launched a far-reaching Each of the 12 species faces
campaign to place 12 species of threats ranging from introduced ● Meeting the arts: Our work
penguins worldwide on the U.S. list of predators, disease, habitat celebrated on film and stage
threatened and endangered species. destruction, disturbance at ...page 11
The penguins’ plight, as well as breeding colonies, oil spills, marine
the campaign to save them, are all pollution, and in some cases, direct
the more timely because ensuring harvest of eggs or penguins, which such as anchovy and krill. Similar
the charismatic seabirds’ survival are killed for use as fishbait. fishing fleets figure prominently
will hinge on the willingness of this Many of the species are harmed in the misadventures of “Happy
administration – and the next – to by industrial fisheries, either directly, Feet,” which feature Emperor and
take swift and sweeping actions to such as when individual penguins are Rockhopper Penguins, two species
significantly curb global warming. caught and killed in trawls, nets and included in the Center’s petition.
The Center’s Nov. 28 scientific longlines, or indirectly through the But scientists have linked many
petition, which documents declines depletion of essential prey species of the ocean conditions causing
declines in penguin populations
– such as abnormally warm ocean
temperatures and diminishing sea
ice – to global warming. As global
warming intensifies, these conditions
are projected to intensify as well,
continuing to devastate the penguins’
habitat and food supply.
Unfortunately, while the film
industry has taken note of the
penguins’ fate (the survival heroics
of Emperor Penguins also gained a
Photo by Kevin Schafer/kevinschafer.com
spotlight in the 2005 documentary,
“March of the Penguins”), the Bush
administration has so far turned a
blind eye. Indeed, the administration
continues to block progress to
confront global warming on the local,
national and international levels.
Penguins worldwide are suffering
the consequences. Two-thirds of
Not-so-happy-fate: With two recent films depicting their heroic struggle to survive the world’s penguin species face
the brutal conditions in Antarctica, Emperor Penguins have become pop cultural extinction, including the Southern
icons. Unfortunately, the grim threats to their survival are all too real – including the Rockhopper and Humboldt Penguins
overarcing threat from global warming. The Center has launched a campaign to protect
Marching Towards Extinction continued on back page...
the Emperor and 11 other penguin species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07 1
Julie Teel, Staff Attorney, Climate, Air & Energy Program
Anything But the Truth
The Bush administration is notorious for suppressing and distorting science to suit its political
agenda and undermine the American public’s understanding of important environmental issues.
In doing so, it has created an ever-widening chasm between its own policies and what scientists say
is necessary to preserve our planet.
owhere is that chasm more processes currently driven by nothing indicates that more than one-third
profound than on the subject more visionary than political gain. of the Earth’s biodiversity may be
of climate change. Peer- The Jury Is In committed to extinction as a result of
reviewed scientific literature leaves climate change by the year 2050.
Anyone who has seen “An
no doubt that global warming is real
and already threatens life on Earth,
is familiar with the
and that greenhouse gas emissions
contribute to and are rapidly
accelerating global warming.
majority of the
Not a popular topic for the oil-
obsessed administration that has
refused to join international efforts to
Photo by Jenny E. Ross/www.jennyross.com
agree that society’s
reduce emissions. How to resolve the
dissonance? The administration favors
continuing to stumble blindly down
the political path and cast science to
Unfortunately, the administration’s
rapid and unnatural
choice to bury its head in the sand
warming of the
has translated into an arrogant
campaign to keep the American
people in the dark. Obfuscate The Polar Bear is just one species whose habitat melts while the
own scientists at the
science. Downplay the link between administration fiddles.
climate change and fossil fuel Burying the Evidence
Data Center recently drove home the
consumption. Better yet, prevent
point by confirming that 2006 was Meanwhile, the Bush
any informed discussion of climate
the hottest year on U.S. record. administration continues its anti-
change, and mislead the public with
What fewer people know is science shenanigans, which have
that there is already substantial included blocking publication of
And do nothing to confront
and stark evidence that global scientific research on climate change,
warming represents the most removing global warming references
Science makes it clearer everyday
significant and pervasive threat to from government agency reports,
that to do nothing is to play with
the future of biodiversity worldwide. news releases and Web sites, and
fire – or more literally, to play with
A survey of more than 30 studies forbidding agency scientists from
more deadly and devastating weather
of approximately 1,600 species speaking to the media about climate
patterns, warming oceans, rising sea
discovered that roughly one-half of change policy. (See sidebar, A History
levels and other irreversible impacts
those species were already showing of Violence on Science)
on plant, animal and human life.
significant changes in their range The administration also has
Likewise, saving species like Polar
distribution (generally northward and chosen to ignore its own obligations
Bears, penguins, corals and others
upwards in elevation) and phenology under the Global Change Research
that are already severely threatened
(for example, earlier breeding, Act to disclose current climate
by global warming, will depend on
flowering and migration) due to science. Under that 1990 law,
swift and decisive action.
global warming. the government must issue a
The Center’s Climate Program is
Unfortunately, the changes comprehensive National Assessment
working to compel the administration
observed to date are relatively modest every four years of the environmental,
to immediate action, and to restore
compared to those predicted for this human-health and economic effects
scientific integrity to decision-making
century. A recent scientific study of global warming on the United States.
2 C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07
Issued in 2000, the last National to support a short-sighted political and substantial cuts in greenhouse gas
Assessment confirmed that humans agenda. We are determined to hold the emissions and measures for adapting to
are contributing significantly to global administration accountable for releasing the inevitable degree of climate change
warming and that current global warmth sound climate reports that can then to which we’ve already committed.
is “unprecedented.” Its scientific be used to achieve what the world’s
conclusions also predicted doubling leading climate scientists, including ••••••••••••••••••••••
or tripling of heat-related deaths, those within our government itself,
intensified floods and droughts, and say we desperately need: immediate
swamping of coastlines by rising seas
and fiercer storms.
The 2000 assessment’s revelations
threatened the Bush administration’s
agenda, so the administration worked A History of Violence on Science
to bury its findings and kill the
2004 update. Upon his March 2005 December 2006. Bush administration, while proposing to list Polar Bear as
resignation, Rick Piltz, former senior threatened under Endangered Species Act (ESA), forced to acknowledge global
associate with the Climate Change warming and its impacts on Arctic sea ice but refuses to acknowledge its
Science Program, blew the whistle. He causes. Words “carbon,” “emissions” and “greenhouse gas” appear nowhere in
called the White House’s suppression of administration’s proposal.
the 2000 assessment and subsequent
refusal to produce the 2004 report “the December 2006. Statement by Nobel laureates and other leading scientists
central climate science scandal of the calling for restoration of scientific integrity to federal policy-making reaches
Bush administration.” 10,600 signatures from scientists in all 50 states.
November 2006. At request of14 senators, agency Inspectors General at
Closing the Gap NASA and Commerce Department begin investigations into whether political
The National Assessment is a appointees have suppressed findings and blocked public communication by
critical tool for raising public awareness federal climate researchers.
and concern about impacts of climate
change on the United States. It also October 2006. Washington Post exposé reveals that high-level administration
provides Congress and agency decision- officials repeatedly ordered government biologists to reverse scientific findings
makers with the most up-to-date in order to deny protection for imperiled species. (See full article, page 10.)
information on which to base global
warming-related decisions. So when the May 2006. Commerce Department officials attempt to block release of National
Bush administration denied the Center’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fact sheet discussing global
repeated request for the updated warming’s contribution to frequency and strength of hurricanes.
assessment, we filed suit with our
partners Greenpeace and Friends of January 2006. Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen reports to New York Times he
the Earth. was warned of “dire consequences” if he continued to make statements clashing
On November 14, 2006, the day we with administration’s views on global warming.
filed suit, Senator John Kerry issued a
statement supporting the lawsuit and June 2005. New York Times reveals internal documents demonstrating that White
pressing for an updated assessment. House official Phil Cooney edited 2002 draft summary of government climate
And in December, 24 members of the research in ways that cast doubt on link between greenhouse gas emissions and
House of Representatives signed a letter rising temperatures. Cooney resigns two days after media obtains documents and
to the administration requesting the soon takes job at Exxon Mobil.
assessment in order to “help Congress
shape a well-informed, forward-looking June 2005. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for
climate change policy.” Environmental Responsibility release survey finding 53 percent of NOAA
The Center believes our Fisheries scientists surveyed said they knew of cases in which commercial
government’s resources should be interests, through political intervention, inappropriately interfered with the
directed at saving species, including agency’s conclusions or decisions.
our own, from the harsh consequences
of unchecked global warming – not
censoring and misrepresenting science
C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07 3
P ROGRAM NEWS..........
Polar Bear proposal That means the mammals whose habitat the whale and its habitat.
marks historic moment administration will find is threatened by new The Center also
itself forced, finally, to Bush administration seeks designation of
in mobilization against reduce the U.S. share of proposals to open areas protected critical habitat
global warming greenhouse gas emissions of the Bering Sea to for Sea Otters in the
Almost two years that fuel global warming. offshore oil development. Aleutian Islands and
after the Center launched The Center filed the One of the species southwest Alaska. As
the campaign to protect scientific petition to gain at heightened risk is a result of our efforts,
the Polar Bear under the North Pacific Right this most endangered
the Endangered Species Whale, which – after the population of Sea Otters
Act as a result of the announced extinction of in the world was listed
Photo by Scott Schliebe, USFWS
effects of global warming the Yangtze River Dolphin as “threatened” under
upon its habitat, the in December – took on the Endangered Species
Bush administration the dubious distinction of Act in August 2005.
has proposed to list the most endangered marine But instead of also
bear as “threatened.” mammal in the world. protecting its habitat
Media across the Devastated by commercial as required by the Act,
country have hailed whaling, as few as 100 the administration
the proposal as a Polar bear mother with cub individual whales remain. proposes opening that
landmark: the first Endangered Species Act The Center’s legal habitat to oil drilling.
acknowledgement from protection for the Polar action seeks to secure Because they rely
the Bush administration, Bear on February 16, protection for the North on their fur as insulation
the Los Angeles Times 2005, the day the Kyoto Pacific Right Whale under against the cold, oil
notes, “that global Protocol went into effect the U.S. Endangered spills can be devastating
warming is the driving without the participation Species Act. Though for Sea Otters – as
force behind an animal’s of the United States. scientists recognize three evidenced by the thousand
potential extinction.” After the administration distinct species of right or more that perished
This initial victory refused to act on that whales – the Southern, as a result of1989’s
toward protecting the petition, the Center, along North Atlantic and North Exxon Valdez spill.
bears is remarkable, but with Greenpeace and Pacific – right whales in
it also portends more the Natural Resources the Atlantic and Pacific
landmarks to come. The Defense Council, filed are still protected and Black Abalone a
campaign to protect Polar suit in December 2005. managed as a single sign of warming
Bears, beloved worldwide, The administration’s species. And while years threat to oceans
captured the media proposal is part of a legal The Black Abalone,
spotlight in a way that settlement in that case. an intertidal invertebrate,
left the administration The U.S. Fish and once thrived from as far
little choice but to affirm Wildlife Service has south as Cabo San Lucas,
the existence of global
Photo by Rick Leduc, NOAA
an additional year to Baja California Sur to its
warming and its very obtain peer review and northern territory of Coos
real consequences. That public comment on its Bay, Ore. Today, the Black
accomplishment in and proposal before issuing Abalone has declined by
of itself has exploded the a final listing decision. as much as 99 percent
bears’ story – and the To date, the government in significantly large
issue of global warming has received more than portions of that range, and
– onto what is perhaps the North Pacific Right Whale
200,000 comments in continues to succumb to
largest worldwide stage the support of listing the of Center efforts finally overharvest, disease and
issue has ever enjoyed. Polar Bear, including resulted in the designation global warming.
But protecting letters from eminent Polar of almost 36,000 square To prevent the
Polar Bears under the Bear experts, climate miles of the Bering Sea extinction of this marine
Endangered Species Act scientists, and more than as critical habitat for
would set the stage for 35 members of Congress. the North Pacific Right
another historic milestone: Whale, more than 15,000
Photo by Glenn Allen, NOAA
the law would require the miles of that habitat falls
administration to actually Bering Sea oil drilling within an area proposed
take action to ensure that in habitat ups risk for for oil and gas leasing.
activities carried out, two endangered animals Listing the North
permitted or funded by The Center filed Pacific Right Whale as
the federal government separate suits in a unique endangered
do not push the bear December to protect two species would force
closer to extinction. Black abalone cling to rock
North Pacific marine stronger protections for
4 C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07
snail, the Center filed Also in December, in Endangered Species
a scientific petition in fulfillment of a settlement Act protection is all
Photo by William Hartley, USFWS
December to protect the agreement with the the more crucial for
Black Abalone under the Center and Turtle Island the White Marlin, since
Endangered Species Act. Restoration Network, the NMFS recently finalized a
Subject to periods National Marine Fisheries management plan for the
of commercial and Service (NMFS) announced species that allows longline
recreational overfishing as a formal status review fishing to continue in
early as the late 1800’s, of the White Marlin, an important spawning habitat
most populations of Black Atlantic salmon imperiled billfish in the for the fish.
Abalone had already Atlantic Ocean
suffered severe declines by In January 2003, a
1985. That year marked Atlantic fish get help study published in the Canyon deserves
the first detection of a from long neglect journal documented permanent protection
disease called “withering Two Atlantic fish facing a 90 percent decline from ORV abuse
syndrome,” which has significant threats from of large predatory fish California’s Surprise
since continued to ravage commercial fishing and populations worldwide as a Canyon, a rare and fragile
remaining Black Abalone habitat destruction got a result of overfishing. The riparian ecosystem, is
populations along southern boost toward protection in White Marlin is perhaps again gravely threatened
California and the Channel December as a result of closest to extinction, and by extreme off-road vehicle
Islands where the species Center actions. continues to be caught at (ORV) users. This canyon
was once most abundant. Together with levels that will increase cradles one of the last
Withering syndrome the Conservation Law that risk. Longline fishing remaining wild streams
is exacerbated by ocean Foundation, the Center in the Mojave Desert,
warming, and global filed suit to compel the supporting rich riparian
warming has contributed to government to designate and aquatic ecosystems in
rising water temperatures critical habitat for the the Panamint Mountains
off the California and wild Atlantic Salmon. The near Death Valley.
Oregon coasts. As global government is years late In 2000, the
warming progresses, this in doing so; as a result, Center and others sued
deadly disease is likely populations of the fish the Bureau of Land
to spread to currently have failed to recover Management (BLM) for
unaffected Black beyond critically low levels. failing to evaluate the
Abalone populations in The wild Atlantic impact of off-road vehicle
the northern reaches of Salmon was listed as use and other management
Photo by Chris Kassar
the species’ range. an endangered species policies on endangered
The near loss of in eight rivers in Maine wildlife. As a result of the
the Black Abalone is a in 2000. But the two Center’s victory, the BLM
powerful reminder that agencies responsible for closed the route through
left unchecked, global managing the Atlantic Surprise Canyon pending
warming threatens to Surprise Canyon
Salmon, the National such analysis. Since then,
devastate our oceans. Oceanic and Atmospheric in particular is the largest Surprise Canyon has
Once added to the Administration and the threat to the species. experienced a remarkable
endangered species list, U.S. Fish and Wildlife The Center and Turtle recovery. Cottonwoods and
the Black Abalone would Service, have dragged Island filed suit in January willow trees are flourishing,
join the White Abalone and their feet on protecting its 2004 after NMFS refused and rare species such
the Elkhorn and Staghorn habitat despite scientists’ to protect the Atlantic as Desert Bighorn Sheep
Corals as the only marine conclusions that habitat White Marlin under the are thriving. Endangered
invertebrates protected loss and degradation are Endangered Species Act, birds, such as the Inyo
under the Endangered leading contributors to despite findings of the California Towhee, have
Species Act. Each of the salmon’s decline, agency’s own scientists returned to the canyon
these species gained and despite their own that unsustainable harvest after decades of absence.
the Act’s protections recovery plan calling levels were driving the To protect Surprise
only following a similar for improvements to the fish toward extinction. In Canyon Creek, the Center
petition by the Center. salmon’s habitat. October 2005, a federal and our coalition partners
The Center’s aims to judge ordered NMFS to are seeking to intervene
establish a firm deadline re-evaluate its decision. in a suit filed by off-road
by which the agencies will The announced status vehicle users who want
designate critical habitat review is an important step to re-open the canyon for
for the salmon. toward securing protection ORV use. The suit claims
for the Marlin.
C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07 5
that the sheer canyon would spread the waste
walls and streambed are a
“constructed highway” to
– 400,000 tons processed
per year – across 160 acres
Rare ringtones spotlight
which the public has right-
of-way under a repealed
of pristine desert habitat.
Beyond threatening endangered wildlife
Civil War-era law. native animals and he Center made an unexpected splash – make
To accommodate habitat, the facility would that hoot – on the trendy technology scene this
off-road vehicle use in heap more misery on a
winter with an idea that’s time had clearly come:
the 1990s, off-roaders community whose residents
cut down trees and other have been plagued for endangered species ringtones.
plants, filled in portions decades by the effects of A new Center Web site, rareearthtones.org, offers free
of the streambed with toxic contamination caused ringtones – croaks, chirps and songs of dozens of rare and
rocks, and used winches by hexavalent chromium 6. endangered animals around the world – that stand apart
to pull vehicles up near- That chemical compound, from the cacophony of mass-marketed tones in any crowd.
vertical waterfalls. used by the local energy Featured are authentic sounds of threatened owls, tropical
Allowing this abuse company and discovered birds, frogs, toads and marine mammals.
to resume within the in groundwater, was linked Some, like the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog, Yosemite
confines of this pristine to high rates of cancer Toad and Fringe-backed Fire-eye, are subtle. Others, like
gorge would damage and birth defects in the the Blue-throated Macaw, Barn Owl and Beluga Whale, are
its unique character, community.
decimating waterfalls, Contaminants found
cottonwood cathedrals in sewage sludge, including And it’s not just tech geeks who are sitting up and
and willow woodlands that dangerous pathogens, taking notice.
provide habitat for rare and metals, pesticides and Upon its launch the Center’s ringtones project
endangered species. disease-causing fungi, quickly became a hot blog topic, made news headlines
The Center will could prove just as deadly. nationwide, earned radio spots as far away as South
continue to fight for Additionally, the groups America, and became one of the most e-mailed stories on
protection of this desert involved in the appeal are NPR Christmas week. The haunting song of the Orca – so
jewel to ensure that concerned about the lack far the most downloaded of the 40-plus tones – reached the
Surprise Canyon and the of public input into the third spot on the all-time most popular ringtone list at Myxer.
plants and wildlife that approval process. Despite More than 10,000 people downloaded the ringtones in
depend on it can thrive requirements under
the campaign’s early weeks.
free from the threat of California law, there was
off-road vehicle abuse. neither adequate public What makes these ringtones resonate?
notice nor review of the For one thing, they’re just plain fun. But they also
proposed project, and make for an interesting conversation starter – and a novel
Hinkley community environmental documents way to educate people about the serious plight of the
again under siege were not provided in endangered species behind the calls.
by toxic threat Spanish. Approximately The new site encourages users to download
The Center and 40 percent or more of fact sheets and photos for each featured animal, and to
other conservation and the area’s population is take action – with just one click – to save endangered
environmental justice Spanish-speaking. species worldwide.
groups appealed the San Another matter of What are you
Bernardino County Board concern is the design and
waiting for? Make
of Supervisors’ approval of outdated technology of
the proposed facility. The your phone calls
an open-air sewage sludge wilder today at
treatment facility near the county refused to consider
available state-of-the-art rareearthtones.org –
community of Hinkley,
Calif. At press time, the techniques – including and spread the word!
board was scheduled to an enclosed facility – to Owl ringtones
hear the appeal Feb. 27. reduce greenhouse gas are made available
As if Hinkley’s toxic and other air pollution as in concert with the
plight portrayed in the film required by law. nonprofit Global Owl
“Erin Brockovich” were not The groups bringing Project, a worldwide
a big enough blow to this the appeal are the project to identify and
community, the proposed Center, Helphinkley.org,
conserve the planet’s
facility would allow more Desert Citizens Against
Pollution, and the Center owls.
than 500 daily vehicle
trips to haul up to 2,000 on Race, Poverty and
tons of sewage sludge the Environment. Photo by Lynne Howes/Center for Biological Diversity
per day. The project also ••••••••••••••••
6 C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07
Endangered Species Act: A Legislative Update
hen the U.S. House and Senate leadership, no anti-endangered species underfunded for the past six years. They
adjourned Dec. 9, they officially bills (which often appear under the also can work for full implementation
brought the 109th Congress guise of “reauthorizing” the Act) will of recovery plans – scientific guidelines
to a close: thus ending history’s worst be entertained by the 110th, and that that are meant to guide endangered
Congress and the reign of Rep. Richard instead they are likely to hold oversight species recovery, but that have been
Pombo, R-Calif., as the chair of the hearings to examine the administration’s systematically postponed and ignored
House Resources Committee. Pombo poor implementation of the Endangered over the course of this administration.
was the most vocal enemy of endangered Species Act. Finally, they can develop fair financial
species to ever sit in Congress, using For example, an October 30 incentives and technical assistance to
his chairmanship to promote his Washington Post article revealed that landowners to encourage endangered
own corporate agenda and to attack Department of Interior Deputy Assistant species conservation on private lands.
conservation efforts. Secretary Julie MacDonald and other The Center for Biological Diversity
The end of the year also means that Interior Department officials repeatedly already is working with the 110th
H.R. 3824 – the Pombo-authored anti- distorted scientific findings to prevent Congress to bring these priorities to the
endangered species bill that passed the the protection of plants and animals front of the discussion on endangered
House in September 2005 but never under the Endangered Species Act (see species issues.
found a willing sponsor in the Senate – is related articles in Advocacy Spotlight,
now officially dead. All bills that have not this issue).
passed both houses are now defunct, and Such actions are symptomatic of
would have to jump through all the same a larger problem at Interior. The Bush
hoops again to come up for vote in the administration has listed fewer species
new Congress. under the Endangered Species Act than
But that Congress began in January any other administration since the law
with a Democratic majority, and Pombo was enacted in 1973, in part because it A BIG THANKS
failed to win re-election after his has denied species protection at record
environmentally-hostile record raised rates. Of all the endangered species to all our members, old
public hackles and gave a decisive victory listing decisions made under the Bush and new, who helped us
to Democratic challenger Jerry McNerney. administration, 47 percent denied
Pombo won’t have another chance to protection as compared to only 13 reach our fundraising
reintroduce his bill, and neither will he percent during the last five years of the
chair the House Resources Committee Clinton administration.
goal of $200,000 in
that oversees endangered species issues. The Center helped expose support of the Center’s
New Democratic majorities in the MacDonald’s shenanigans, and in
House and Senate bring other significant the wake of these revelations, we are Endangered Species
changes in committee leadership. encouraging Congressional oversight and Act Works! campaign.
In the Senate, the Environment and investigation into the abuse of science at
Public Works (EPW) Committee was the Interior Department. We passed our goal by New
previously chaired by Sen. James Inhofe, Even as the tide turns in
R-Okla.,a crusader against science Congress, we must still deal with an
Year’s Eve, which means
and the environment. Now it will be administration that is extremely hostile we earned every dollar of
chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to the environment and would veto
a long-time, enthusiastic advocate for any legislation to actually strengthen our $200,000 matching
environmental protections. The EPW endangered species protections. In fact, challenge grant! Thank
subcommittee covering the Endangered Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
Species Act will be chaired by Sen. Joe is expected to make rule changes to you for keeping our shared
Lieberman, I-Conn., also a long-time ally. weaken those protections.
In the House, we’ve lost the driving Nonetheless, new Congressional
voice powerful as we work
force for gutting the Endangered Species leadership means that we can promote for strong endangered
Act with Pombo’s ousting. Taking over efforts to improve endangered species
chairmanship of the House Resources recovery and implementation of the laws species protections in
Committee is Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., meant to protect them. The simplest 2007 and beyond.
who previously stood up to Pombo as thing the new Congress can do is to
Resources Ranking Member. adequately fund the programs that
Key members of Congress are protect species and habitat, which
signaling that under the new majority have been drastically and deliberately
C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07 7
Resurrecting Science to Recover Wolves
After the agency charged with recovering Mexican Gray Wolves turned its back
on a scientific panel’s recommendations, the Center turns to the courts to
stop politically-motivated predator control from devastating the wolves.
ive years after a scientific panel Great Lakes states – where wolf numbers and was conducted by renowned non-
urged critical reforms to the have grown to more than 1,000 and governmental biologists led by Paul C.
Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction 3,000 animals, respectively. Paquet, Ph.D., urged allowing Mexican
program, the Center has filed suit Unlike for wolves elsewhere (or for Wolves to roam freely just as all other
challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife any other endangered species), the species the Service manages are allowed.
Service – the very agency that convened Service has bound itself to remove any The rules for wolf reintroduction
the panel – for its refusal to implement Mexican Wolf living outside a designated to the northern Rocky Mountains
the most important of the require ranchers to clean
recommended reforms. up “attractants” (livestock
The lawsuit will jumpstart carcasses), and withhold predator
recovery for the animal that control where those carcasses
the Service itself, after having attract wolves that then prey on
spent decades trapping and stock. Mexican Wolves receive
poisoning Mexican Wolves in no such protection – again, with
the Southwest and Mexico, devastating consequences for
identified as North America’s the population.
most endangered mammal. From 1998 through 2000
In planning the 1998 the Campbell Blue Pack showed
reintroduction of Mexican no interest in cattle and were
Wolves into the wild, the even documented trotting right
Service projected that by the by a herd of cows and calves en
end of 2006, more than 100 route to successfully hunting elk.
wolves would roam the Apache But after scavenging on cattle
and Gila National Forests they did not kill in early 2001
in Arizona and New Mexico. (one of which was in an area of
According to the 1982 Mexican the Gila National Forest closed
Wolf Recovery Plan, those to livestock), they began killing
Photo by Gary Kramer, USFWS
100-plus wolves would cattle and were recaptured.
comprise one of two populations The alpha male will never be
that together would lead the re-released. His mate was re-
species toward recovery. released in spring 2003 with a
Far from reaching that new male. She abandoned him
goal, however, the population and traveled dozens of miles
declined from 55 animals Gray Wolves to the north are larger and differently adapted for back to where she had first
counted at the end of 2003 to survival than the Mexican Wolf of the Southwest. But their success tasted beef. There she began
35 counted at the end of 2005. at recovery – while the Mexican Wolf struggles – is more a matter hunting cattle again, and in May
The 2006 count is ongoing of politics than morphology. 2003 the Service shot her – the
through January, but even with an area. Managing the Southwest’s first of so-far eight wolves shot by the
expected increase the year-end tally will wolves according to rigid and arbitrary government since reintroduction began.
still come in at significantly fewer than boundaries has proved disastrous for The Service also has killed 20
100 animals. recovery. For example, in November Mexican Wolves unintentionally as a
The Mexican Wolf has not reached 2001, a lone wolf outside the boundary result of capture; dozens more have been
this initial milestone toward recovery was chased by helicopter until he traumatized or injured, lowering their
primarily due to government trapping and collapsed and died. And in August survival chances upon re-release.
shooting of Mexican Wolves on behalf 2004, the Service trapped two wild-born To prevent wolves from becoming
of the livestock industry. The Service’s wolves because they were on the “wrong” habituated to livestock, the science
predator control program for the Mexican national forest; their young, dependent panel recommended requiring ranchers
Wolf is an anomaly in the agency’s pups were not found. using public lands to remove or render
management of wolves in general; the The 2001 science panel, which inedible (by lime, for example) the
Service follows different rules for wolves comprised the Service’s official three- carcasses of cattle and horses that die of
in the northern Rocky Mountains and the year review of the reintroduction program non-wolf causes.
8 C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07
Indian Reservation Blue Range
Wolf Recovery Area Instead of following the • To impose today’s failing
Phoenix Apache NF
Gila NF recommendations of the panel management protocols in new areas
it commissioned, in July 2006 needed for the Mexican Wolf’s
Tucson the Service announced an even eventual recovery.
more destructive direction in its In short, the agency charged
management of Mexican Wolves. with the Mexican Wolf’s recovery
Historic Range of It pledged in writing: has chosen to abandon science
Mexican Gray Wolf • To not regulate livestock for politically-motivated policies
(Canis lupus baileyi)
carcasses abandoned on public that threaten to make a dire
lands. situation worse. The Center’s
• To expand but not eliminate lawsuit is necessary to compel
the arbitrary geographic boundaries the Fish and Wildlife Service to
that confine wolves. adopt the recommendations of the
• To allow wolf shooting in independent scientific panel – and
broader circumstances than those to give the lobo a chance.
Map by Curt Bradley
• To cap the wolf population at Article by Michael J. Robinson,
= Wolves allowed to 125 animals and allow mass wolf Carnivore Conservation Coordinator
roam only in this area Mexico City killing above that number.
Coalition seeks homecoming for Sky Islands’ Gray Wolves
The Center is leading six evolutionary home in the range of an working to recover the subspecies in its
organizations in forming the new Sky extinct Gray Wolf subspecies. Fish and native range.
Islands Wolf Coalition to ensure that Wildlife Service regulations forbid the Such a move would subject the
the Mexican Gray Wolf will be allowed lobo to re-colonize the Sky Islands, Mexican Wolf to the evolutionary
to return home. and a Service regulation struck down pressures that led to a much larger
The Mexican Wolf, known as the by a court at the behest of the Center wolf and, over generations, shape
lobo in Mexico and along the border, and other groups would have redefined the lobo into a profoundly different
and nicknamed the desert wolf by the Mexican Wolf into a generic Gray creature. The Sky Islands Wolf
pioneering ecologist Aldo Leopold, is Wolf ranging all the way to northern Coalition will educate and advocate for
native to the Sierra Madre Mountains Colorado. There is still a risk that the returning Leopold’s desert wolf to its
of Mexico and the Sky Island Service will attempt to introduce the desert home.
Mountains of southeastern Arizona and Mexican Wolf to Colorado instead of
southwestern New Mexico.
The scientist who first identified
and named the Mexican Wolf noted
its distinct dentition and smaller size
from wolves further north, and the
“remarkably abrupt” morphological
transition between the Mexican Wolf
and neighboring wolves. Although
mammals’ sizes generally decrease
with distance from the poles, these
Photo by Val Halstead, Wolf Haven International
precipitous changes in body type may
have had specific adaptive value for an
animal preying on the diminutive Coues
White-tailed Deer and the pig-like
Javelina in an area not populated by
larger bodied Elk – and where prickly
vegetation might impede the movement
of a larger wolf.
In 1998, the Mexican Wolf was
reintroduced slightly north of its
Mexican Gray Wolf pair
C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07 9
Advocacy Spotlight continued from page 3
Exposé reveals political interference in wildlife science
he Center helped publicly expose the Center, Biodiversity Conservation Center for Native Ecosystems appeared
a Bush administration appointee Alliance, Center for Native Ecosystems, in the Denver Post, Casper Star-Tribune
for persistently interfering with Forest Guardians, and Sagebrush Sea and Rocky Mountain News.
government scientists to sway decisions Campaign called upon recently appointed These calls appear to be gaining
regarding endangered species protection. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne traction. The Washington Post revealed
Julie MacDonald, Department of to reconsider decisions made with that the Inspector General of the
Interior Deputy Assistant Secretary for MacDonald’s interference, and to ask for Department of Interior is investigating
Fish, Wildlife and Parks, repeatedly her resignation. MacDonald, and Democrats, including
overruled agency scientists in order to A December 20 guest editorial in the Congressman Nick Rahall, D-WVa.,
deny protection for critically imperiled Seattle Post-Intelligencer by the Center’s new chairman of the House Resources
species, according to an October 30 Noah Greenwald called for Kempthorne Committee, have pledged to launch
Washington Post exposé based on to “clean house” at Interior by removing a congressional investigation in this
information provided by the Center and MacDonald, as well as recently appointed session. Secretary Kempthorne will
other groups. Second Deputy Secretary of Interior need to fire MacDonald and Willens
As reported in the Post, documents Todd Willens, formerly policy director for and restore scientific integrity at the
obtained under the Freedom of ousted Rep. Richard Pombo, the most Department of Interior or risk these
Information Act confirm that internal anti-endangered species congressman in investigations bringing down his
findings by U.S. Fish and Wildlife recent history. Similar guest editorials administration.
Service scientists concluded that the by the Center for Biological Diversity or ••••••••••••••••••••••
Gunnison Sage-grouse, Gunnison’s
Prairie Dog, White-tailed Prairie Dog,
Roundtail Chub, Mexican Garter Snake A History of Violence continued from page 3...
and a Mariana Islands plant are at risk of
March 2005. Whistle-blower Rick Piltz, senior associate from office coordinating
extinction and should be considered for
federal climate change programs, resigns declaring that political appointees
endangered species protection. In each
“impede[d] forthright communication of the state of climate science” and
case, MacDonald – an engineer with
“undermine[d] the credibility and integrity of the program.”
no biological training – or other officials
ordered biologists to reverse their findings.
February 2005. UCS survey reveals that 44 percent of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
The Post quoted MacDonald as
Service (FWS) scientists working on endangered species reported they had been
saying that she has “mocked rank-and-
directed for non-scientific reasons to refrain from making findings to protect
file employees’ recommendations.”
MacDonald’s interference in scientific
decisions concerning endangered
December 2004. Opinions of Julie MacDonald, Interior Department appointee
wildlife is pervasive. In response to a
with no background in wildlife biology, provided as part of source material for
2005 survey conducted by the Union
FWS panel that denies ESA protection for Greater Sage-grouse.
of Concerned Scientists, 84 Fish and
Wildlife Service scientists indicated
June 2003. White House tries to force EPA to alter section on climate change in
they were directed to exclude or alter
Draft Report on the Environment. Entire section ultimately deleted from report
scientific information in decisions.
released for public comment.
Several mentioned MacDonald by name.
As one wrote, “I have never before
September 2002. Administration removes section on climate change from EPA’s
seen the boldness of intimidation
annual air pollution report.
demonstrated by a single political
appointee. She has modified the
May 2002. President Bush expresses disdain for State Department’s Climate
behavior of the entire agency. I believe
Action Report to United Nations that points to clear human role in accumulation
there should be a thorough investigation
of heat-trapping gases and forecasts negative consequences of climate change.
of her abuse of discretionary authority
and modification of science information
For a more complete list of the Bush administration’s misuses and abuses of
provided in FWS documents.”
science, visit the Web site of Union of Concerned Scientists at www.ucsusa.org/
Echoing a call from the Union of
scientific_integrity. We acknowledge UCS for compiling much of the information
Concerned Scientists to restore scientific
reported in this timeline.
integrity to the Interior Department,
10 C E N T E R F O R B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y WINTER 2006/07
Meeting the Arts earth
Music, theater, film and public television –
the Center saw its work celebrated across the arts Endangered Earth is the quarterly newsletter of the
Center for Biological Diversity, a 501(c)3 nonprofit
this winter. organization dedicated to protecting endangered species
and wild places through science, advocacy, education
and environmental law.
• About 300 people attended • On Jan. 14, the Orpheum Contributions are tax-deductible.
Arizona’s premier of the Wild & Theater in Phoenix, Ariz. screened
Scenic Environmental Film Festival the world premier of “A River Michael Finkelstein
in November, raising nearly $1,500 Reborn: The Restoration of Fossil
to benefit our work and bringing Creek.” The PBS documentary EDITOR
environmental stories to life through tells the story of Arizona’s Fossil Publications Director
the magic of film. The mission of Creek, which after 100 years
the film festival is to educate and of degradation is undergoing CONTRIBUTORS
Lisa Belenky, Curt Bradley, Keri Dixon,
inspire, and the Center was restoration thanks to an agreement Julieta Gonzalez, Noah Greenwald, Chris Kassar,
thrilled to share it with our Julie Miller, Brian Nowicki, Michael Robinson,
hometown crowd at the Loft Julie Teel, Melissa Waage
Cinema in Tucson.
• Singer, songwriter, activist aire design company
and Center member Bonnie Raitt
To become a member or give a gift
donated special tickets to her membership, contact Keri Dixon at kdixon@
12/30 concert in Temecula, Calif. biologicaldiversity.org or 520.623.5252 ext.
312, or send a check or credit card number and
to benefit our work. Along with expiration date to CBD, Membership, P.O. Box
special guests Jon Cleary & The 710, Tucson, AZ, 85702-0710.
Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Or visit the “join us” page on our secure
Bonnie treated the audience server: www.biologicaldiversity.org
to a fantastic (sold-out!) show On occasion, we trade our mailing list with organizations
and helped generate more than that share our mission. If you would prefer that your
name not be exchanged, please contact us.
$14,000 to support the Center for
Photo courtesy of Bonnie Raitt
Biological Diversity. The reception
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
that followed brought those with
BECAUSE LIFE IS GOOD.
premium tickets face-to-face
with Bonnie backstage, where
Center staff Ileene Anderson and
Peter Galvin also spoke about the
• The Center takes the stage in between Arizona Public Service, We offer sincere condolences
theater mecca New York City this Inc. and environmental advocates and gratitude to the family of Center
January and February. A production including the Center. The member Mark Saylor of Las Vegas,
Nev., who passed away in 2006. As
benefiting our work opened January documentary was produced for his family suffered a tremendous loss,
10 at The Brick Theater. Inverse Northern Arizona University and the they celebrated Mark’s life and his
Theater Company presents “The Museum of Northern Arizona by five- passion for protecting wildlife. Mark
Death of Griffin Hunter,” a play time Emmy Award-winning producer was a committed supporter who chose
noir by Kirk Wood Bromley. This Paul Bockhorst, and narrated by to include the Center for Biological
Diversity in his will. He left a legacy
thrilling and inventive tale about “Cheers!” actor Ted Danson. Check that will allow our conservation efforts
the Secretary of Disarmament for your local listings or call your PBS to continue long into the future. If
the United Nations takes off when station to find out when the film you would like more information about
Hunter flies to San Francisco to may air in your town. leaving a legacy for wildlife, please
sign a disarmament treaty with 90 contact our membership director, Keri
••••••••••••••••••••••• Dixon, 520.623.5252 ext. 312 or
nations – and quickly finds himself firstname.lastname@example.org, or
embroiled in adventures he never speak to your trusted financial advisor.
bargained for. For more information or
tickets, visit www.inversetheater.org.
W W W . B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y . O R G WINTER 2006/07 11
Permit No 1308
Marching Toward Extinction continued from front page
off the islands of South America, the Listing these additional species would vastly outweigh any costs, the
African Penguin in southern Africa, and under the Act will provide broader Bush administration has opposed all
the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica. protection to penguins, including a international and national efforts to
For example, the Pointe Geologie requirement that the U.S. government make meaningful reductions
colony of Emperor Penguins featured in may not carry out, authorize or fund to emissions.
“March of the Penguins” has declined any activity that would jeopardize the The 12 penguin species included in
by 70 percent due to global warming. penguins’ survival. Therefore, adding the Center’s petition are the Emperor,
Krill, the keystone of the Antarctic these penguins to the threatened Southern Rockhopper, Northern
marine ecosystem, and an essential food and endangered species list also Rockhopper, Fiordland Crested, Snares
source not just for penguins but also for would mandate that the government Crested, Erect-crested, Macaroni,
whales and seals, has declined by as take significant action to address Royal, White-flippered, Yellow-eyed,
much as 80 percent since the 1970s global warming. African and Humboldt Penguins. Photos
over large areas of the Southern Ocean. The United States, with only four and range maps for each species are
Recent studies indicate that even percent of the world’s population, is available on our Web site,
under the most optimistic greenhouse responsible for producing about one- www.biologicaldiversity.org.
gas emission scenarios, continued quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases.
warming over the next several decades The U.S. Government Accounting Office For more on the Center’s work to demand
will affect, dramatically and adversely, projects that these greenhouse gas that the administration heed scientists’
key ecosystems on which penguins emissions will grow by 43.5 percent warnings and take action to reduce
depend, including the Southern Ocean, through the year 2025. U.S. contributions to the emissions that
Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands. Despite an overwhelming body cause global warming, see inside article,
The Galapagos Penguin is the only of scientific and economic literature “Anything But the Truth.”
penguin species currently protected by demonstrating that the long-term
the Endangered Species Act. benefits of reducing greenhouse ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
gas emissions and future warming
printed on recycled paper
12 W W W . B I O L O G I C A L D I V E R S I T Y . O R G WINTER 2006/07