Category Archives: Healthy Living

Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles Protected by Endangered Species Act Are Recovering

Image: California sea otter photo by Mike Baird, provided courtesy of Center for Biological Diversity.

Most marine mammals and sea turtles in the United States that are protected by the Endangered Species Act are recovering, according to a new study by scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The best available population data for 23 marine mammals and nine sea turtles shows that 78 percent of them — including most large whales, Florida manatees, California sea otters, and green sea turtles — experienced substantial population increases after being protected by this landmark federal law.

“The Endangered Species Act works. This is great news at a time when our oceans face growing threats from climate change, overfishing and pollution,” said Dr. Abel Valdivia, the Center’s ocean scientist and lead author of the study. “It’s easy to get discouraged as we watch human activities destroy marine ecosystems. But our study shows we can still save whales and other endangered species if we just make the effort.”

The study, which is reportedly under review at the scientific journal PLOS ONE and appears as a preprint in the BioRXiv server today, looked at all marine mammal and sea turtle species protected by the Act.  The study reportedly analyzed only those species with reliable and high-quality data, making the findings of this comprehensive survey of the scientific literature a powerful indicator of endangered species’ recovery.

According to the study, most species are reportedly on the path to recovery. Three species of marine mammals and two species of sea turtles remained unchanged after listing, which may indicate population stability. Just two marine mammal species, the Hawaiian monk seal and Southern Resident killer whale, continued to decline after being listed. No listed sea turtle populations declined.
Conservation measures triggered by the Act include habitat protections, science-based management measures to safeguard the species, and recovery planning.

The Endangered Species Act has required devices that allow sea turtles to escape from fishing nets, protected whales from deafening sonar, reduced disorienting lighting from sea turtle nesting beaches, among other protections.

The study reportedly found that species listed for more than 20 years were more likely to be recovering than recently listed species, another sign the Act is effective if federal officials follow its mandates.

“People can see more humpback whales migrating along the West Coast, which is a success story everyone can appreciate,” Valdivia said. “Yet Southern Resident killer whales still struggle against extinction, partly because the federal government missed its own deadline to expand critical habitat protections. The Act works well when officials effectively use the tools it provides.”

The study, titled “Marine mammals and sea turtles listed under the Endangered Species Act are recovering,” was primarily authored by Dr. Valdivia. Marine mammals and sea turtles make up 36 percent of the 161 marine species listed under the Act.

The Hollywood Sentinel

Avoid Pot and Other Drugs Which can be Deadly

Listen below to the radio clip concerning the dangers of pot, and the new strains of fake weed and heroin going around that are killing people.

For more information on drugs and the prevention of drug abuse, visit www.CCHR.org 

This audio and textual content is (c). 2018, Hollywood Sentinel, all rights reserved.

 

Three Species Gain Endangered Species Act Protection Under Trump

Hawaiian Bird, Arizona Turtle, Southeast Fish Protected

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week protected Arizona’s Sonoyta mud turtle, a Hawaiian bird known as the ‘i’iwi and a Southeast fish called the pearl darter under the Endangered Species Act.

Today’s action came in response to two 2011 settlement agreements with the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians under which the Fish and Wildlife Service made protection decisions for hundreds of vulnerable species over the past six years.

With these three newly designated species, 188 species have been protected as threatened or endangered under the agreement. Eleven additional species have been proposed for protection and await decisions expected by the end of the year.

“We’re thrilled these three endangered species are finally getting the protections they so desperately need to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “We worried that Trump administration political appointees would block the Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting any species, but for at least these three, this is a good day.”

Background: A Turtle, Bird and Fish Tale

With webbed feet and an innate ability to swim, the Sonoyta mud turtle has evolved to be highly aquatic in one of the driest parts of the Sonoran Desert. The turtle is found only in a small area of Pima County, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Diversion of surface water and pumping of groundwater have led to the loss of much of this habitat, which the turtle needs to survive.

In the United States, the turtle has been reduced to a single reservoir called Quitobaquito Springs within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Four populations are currently known in Mexico, but the loss of the turtle has already been reported from an additional site. At all of these sites the number of turtles has declined as aquatic habitat has been reduced. It has been waiting for protection on the candidate list for 20 years.

The ‘i‘iwi — also known as the scarlet honeycreeper — is a medium-sized honeycreeper that lives in native forests of ohia and koa. The ‘i‘iwi was once widespread throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but the species is now primarily restricted to high-elevation areas on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai because of habitat destruction and the spread of avian pox and malaria by mosquitoes, which were introduced to the islands. The ‘i‘iwi has survived at high elevations, primarily over 3,600 feet, because it is too cold there for mosquitoes and the deadly diseases they spread. But with climate change, mosquitoes are moving uphill and are predicted to cover most remaining ‘i‘iwi habitat as the climate continues to warm. The ‘i‘iwi has seen a 92 percent decline on Kauai in the past 25 years and a 34 percent decline on Maui. The Center petitioned for its protection in 2010.

The pearl darter once swam in hundreds of miles of river in Mississippi and Louisiana, but today has been reduced to scattered populations in a fraction of its range. It has been lost from its namesake, the Pearl River. The darter is threatened by water pollution from oil and gas development, sand and gravel mining, urbanization, agriculture and the proposed damming of Little and Big Cedar creeks, tributaries to the Pascagoula River.

Other threats include climate change and hurricanes and similarly catastrophic events. The Southeastern Fishes Council named the pearl darter as one of the 12 most endangered fish in the southeastern United States. It has been waiting for protection on the candidate list since 1991.

“Each of these three species is precious, and we need to do all we can to save them,” said Greenwald. “We’re fortunate to have the Endangered Species Act, an incredibly effective law that has saved more than 99 percent of the species under its protection and put hundreds more on the road to recovery. This landmark law can save these species too.”

'i'iwi

Photo by Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.