The Brains of the Animal Kingdom

The Brains of the Animal Kingdom.

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Endangered Species Condoms

Learn More About Overpopulation Enter to Win
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Keep me updated on the Center’s work to protect endangered species and address overpopulation.
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MapClick here to see a map of volunteer distributors.

Click here to download an Earth Day overpopulation fact sheet, with talking points.

Through a network of more than 5,000 volunteers, in 2010 the Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 350,000 free Endangered Species Condoms in all 50 states — as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico — to highlight how unsustainable human population growth is driving species extinct at a cataclysmic rate.

The earth’s population has nearly doubled since the original Earth Day in 1970. In those days, it was well understood that human overpopulation was causing the many environmental challenges cropping up around the world. Now, with the passing of the 40th anniversary of the original Earth Day, unsustainable human population growth is too often ignored, even though it continues to drive all the major environmental problems that plague our planet.

At 6.8 billion people, the human race is not only the most populous large mammal on Earth but the most populous large mammal that has ever existed. Providing for the needs and wants of this many people — especially those in high-consumption, first-world nations — has pushed homo sapiens to absorb 50 percent of the planet’s freshwater and develop 50 percent of its landmass. As a result, other species are running out of places to live.

Human overpopulation is the driving force behind the current mass-extinction crisis, endangering:
• 12 percent of mammals
• 12 percent of birds
• 31 percent of reptiles
• 30 percent of amphibians
• 37 percent of fish

To help people understand the impact of overpopulation on other species, and to give them a chance to take action in their own lives, the Center is distributing free packets of Endangered Species Condoms depicting six separate species: the polar bear, snail darter, spotted owl, American burying beetle, jaguar, and coquí guajón rock frog.

The beautifully designed packages, featuring clever slogans, are being distributed by a network of 5,000 volunteers ranging from ministers to grandmothers to healthcare providers to college students and biologists. The condoms will be handed out at concerts, bars, universities, spiritual groups, local events, and farmer’s markets. Along with two condoms, each package contains original artwork and information on the species, facts about overpopulation and the extinction crisis, and suggestions on how the human population can be stabilized.

To help ensure a world that is livable for other species — and healthy and prosperous for us — practice responsible reproduction, learn more about the Center’s campaign to address overpopulation, and sign up to win a life supply of free Endangered Species Condoms.

The Condom Packages
Polar bear POLAR BEAR
The international icon of global warming, the polar bear is going extinct as the Arctic sea ice melts beneath its feet due to the greenhouse gas emissions of 6.8 billion people, especially those in high-consumption nations like the United States. The bear was put on the endangered species list in 2008.Grab a polar bear ringtone for your mobile phone.
Snail darter
The snail darter lives in just nine populations in the Tennessee River drainage in eastern Tennessee. Its habitat has been severely reduced by dams constructed to provide water, power, and barge transportation to a rapidly growing human population. It was put on the endangered species list in 1975.
Spotted owl SPOTTED OWL
The spotted owl depends on old-growth forests, which are being cut down to supply timber, wood fiber, and toilet paper to an ever-growing human population. It was put on the endangered species list in the Northwest in 1990 and the Southwest in 1993.Put a California or Mexican spotted owl ringtone on your mobile phone.
The large, spectacularly colored American burying beetle has disappeared from more than 90 percent of its former range due to disruption of its food chain by humans, including the human-caused decline of top predators like wolves and bears and carrion species such as passenger pigeons. The beetle was put on the endangered species list in 1989.
The largest cat in North America, the jaguar formerly roamed the borderlands of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It disappeared as human settlements spread further and further into its wilderness habitat. The U.S. population was put on the endangered species list in 1997.Download a jaguar ringtone for your mobile phone.
The Puerto Rico rock frog, also known as the coquí guajón, lives in caves, grottos, and streamsides in southeast Puerto Rico. It was put on the endangered species list in 1997 due to destruction of its habitat by urban sprawl and roads, garbage dumping, deforestation, and pesticide poisoning.Get a rock frog ringtone for your mobile phone.
Design donated by Lori Lieber. Artwork donated by the Endangered Species Print Project. © 2010. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution of images must be accompanied by acknowledgement of the designer and artist.

Learn More About Overpopulation Enter to Win
Condoms for Life
Donate Volunteer to
Be a Distributor
Distributors – Tell Us
How it Went
Center for Biological Diversity | PO Box 710 | Tucson, AZ 85702

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Obama Administration Denies Endangered Species Protection To 251 Species

For Immediate Release, November 9, 2010

Contact: Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Obama Administration Denies Endangered Species Act Protection to 251 Species

Imperiled Plants and Animals Relegated to “Candidate” List
Where They’ll Languish for Years Without Protection

WASHINGTON— The Obama administration today denied Endangered Species Act protection to 251 plants and animals that government scientists have said need those protections to avoid extinction. Instead, the administration has placed them indefinitely on a list of “candidate” species, where many have already languished for years without help.

“The Obama administration has no sense of urgency when it comes to protecting imperiled plants and animals,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “With extinction looming, imperiled species need more than promises of hope and change. They need real protection, and they need it now.”

So far, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Obama administration has provided Endangered Species Act protection to just 51 plants and animals, and only one of those occurs in the continental United States. By comparison, the Clinton administration protected 522 species; the George H.W. Bush administration protected 231. The average annual rate for the Obama administration is 26, while for the Clinton administration it was 65 and for the first Bush administration it was 58.

“The Obama administration has been abysmal when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable plants and animals,” Suckling said. “The Endangered Species Act can save these 251 species, but only if they are granted protection.”

Many of the “candidate” species have been waiting for protection for decades, including the white fringeless orchid, which has been on the waiting list for 30 years, and the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, which has been a candidate for 25 years.

Delays have real consequences. At least 24 species have gone extinct after being designated a candidate for protection, including the Louisiana prairie vole, Tacoma pocket gopher, San Gabriel Mountains blue butterfly, Sangre de Cristo peaclam from New Mexico and numerous Hawaiian invertebrates.

The Center and other groups have an active lawsuit in Washington, D.C., showing that continued delays in protecting the 251 candidate species is illegal because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not making expeditious progress listing species as required by the Endangered Species Act.

Background on the Candidate Species

The 251 candidates include a wide variety of species, from shorebirds such as the red knot, which migrates along the Atlantic Coast during one of the longest migrations in the animal world, to the aboriginal pricklyapple, a cactus found in Florida, to the Pacific fisher, a relative of the mink and otter that is dependent on old-growth forests on the West Coast. Being designated as a candidate does not provide any formal protection to the 251 species, a number of which have been waiting for protection for almost as long as the Endangered Species Act has existed. On average, the candidates have been waiting 20 years for protection.

The current review includes five new species since the last review: the Kentucky arrow darter, a fish in danger of extinction due to surface coal mining and gas exploration in eastern Kentucky; the Rosemont talus snail, a highly endangered snail that occurs only in the footprint of a proposed copper mine outside Tucson, Ariz.; the Kenk’s amphipod, a crustacean threatened by urban sprawl around Washington, D.C.; Packard’s milk vetch, a plant in Idaho threatened by off-road vehicle use and invasive plants; and the Vandenberg monkeyflower, a plant threatened by development in Santa Barbara, Calif. One species, the Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel, was removed from the candidate list due to the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan.

Each of the candidates are given a priority number ranging from 1 to 12 based on their taxonomic rank (e.g. species, subspecies or population) and magnitude and immediacy of threats, with lower numbers indicating higher priority. The majority of candidates are rated as either priority 2 or 3, meaning they are in immediate danger of extinction.

The following are but a few examples of the candidate species:

Oregon spotted frog The Oregon spotted frog has been waiting for protection since 1991. It is found in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in wetlands from sea level to at least 5,500 feet. The frog’s habitat has been lost at an accelerating pace, and the species is now absent from up to 90 percent of its former range, including all of California.

Sonoyta mud turtle – The Sonoyta mud turtle has been a candidate since 1997. In the United States, it has been reduced to a single reservoir in Arizona that is isolated from populations in Mexico. The turtle eats insects, crustaceans, snails, fish, frogs and plants. Females bury their eggs on land.

Florida semaphore cactus – The Florida semaphore cactus has been waiting for protection for six years. It is a large prickly pear cactus from the Florida Keys that was thought to have been driven extinct by cactus collectors and road construction in the late 1970s, but was rediscovered in the mid-1980s. Much of its historic habitat has fallen prey to development, destruction and fragmentation. Just two populations remain.

Eastern massasauga – The eastern massasauga is a wetland rattlesnake of the Midwest and Great Lakes, and has been found in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. It has been waiting for protection for 25 years, having been made a candidate in 1982. The snake is extirpated from 40 percent of the counties it historically inhabited due to wetland losses from urban and suburban sprawl, golf courses, mining and agriculture.

Parachute beardtongue – The Parachute beardtongue, also known as the Parachute penstemon, is an attractive perennial plant that grows on rocky cliffs above the Colorado River near the town of Parachute, Colo. It occupies just two locations of less than one-third of a square mile. The beardtongue has been listed as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act since 1990. Both populations are on lands slated for oil-shale mining.

White fringeless orchid – The white fringeless orchid is a two-foot-tall herb that grows in wetlands in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Alabama’s coastal plain. It has been found in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina, and has been a candidate for 30 years. The orchid is limited to 53 locations.

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NOVA: Kings of Camouflage- The Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are most likely the very best shape-shifters on our planet. They’re a type of mollusk, without the shell, and they not only can change their colors in a multitude of ways; they can change the texture of their skin as well. The NOVA video linked to above has astonishing video footage of the incredible intelligence of these ancient sea creatures, and their pyrotechnic “light show” used to stun certain prey into temporary paralysis. It also explains the way in which their cellular structure is designed to “light up” multiple layers of individual pigmented dots at specific times to create an apparently infinite array of patterns of colors. This is truly a fascinating video.

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

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BBC – Last Chance to See – Animals – Aye-aye

Aye Aye Daubentonia madagascariensis
Image via Wikipedia

BBC – Last Chance to See – Animals – Aye-aye.

Hear Sounds Of The Aye-aye.

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PBS Nature: A Murder of Crows

One Smart Corvid

Here is a fascinating video about the only species of bird we’ve found so far to have the intelligence of Elephants, Humans, and the Great Apes. Amazing footage.

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Om Video

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