Endangered Species Need Our Help
May 18 is Endangered Species Day, and it has never been more important. Congressional efforts to gut the laws that protect America's wildlife, unprecedented corruption at the Interior Department, and wildlife habitats threatened by global warming all demand that we step up efforts to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and its enforcement.
Who stands to lose if we don't? Meet our five featured creatures: polar bears, manatees, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, and salmon.
Editing Animals into Oblivion
A couple of weeks ago, Julie MacDonald, the deputy assistant secretary in the Department of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, resigned her position in disgrace. As Carl Pope wrote in his blog: "Her case is merely the latest example of the serious corruption that appears to be common among senior officials at the agency."
MacDonald was in trouble for various reasons, including interfering with the scientific findings of the Fish and Wildlife Service's own scientists in order to prevent species, like Gunnison's Prairie Dog, from being listed as threatened. Sierra magazine recently published actual examples of her deadly editing in "This Species Is
in Danger A-OK!"
Global Warming on the Map
Global warming has increased the odds against survival for many wild creatures. The sea ice that polar bears call home is melting. In Yellowstone National Park, the whitebark pine seeds that grizzly bears rely on for food are disappearing due to increased beetle populations. Longer droughts are making edible plants scarcer for California's bighorn sheep, and Pacific Northwest salmon must spawn in unnaturally warm waters. In Florida, the last remaining manatee families are being battered by more frequent and intense tropical storms.
Our interactive Endangered Species Map has more examples of threatened wildlife across the U.S. and the impact global warming is having on them.
Test Your Species Knowledge
Sure, you've watched countless hours of Animal Planet, and you've had a crush on Jane Goodall (or is it Marlin Perkins?) since you were in grade school, but how much do you really know about the threatened wild creatures that share our planet?
Take our quiz and find out whether you know more than the typical Department of Interior bureaucrat.
Support Our Work to Protect Wildlife and Wild Places
Even as we celebrate the success of the Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration is rewriting the Act to limit the listing of new endangered species and to allow logging, development, and oil drilling to continue even if those activities threaten critical habitat.
Learn more about the Bush administration's "backdoor" tactics to weaken the ESA, and please donate to protect this landmark act, and support all the Sierra Club’s work to protect wildlife and wild places.
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