Friday, March 12, 2010

Suit filed on behalf of penguins

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration to try to force them to finalize the listing of several penguins on the endangered species list. From their press release:

"Today’s lawsuit challenges the Interior Department’s illegal delay in finalizing the listing of the seven proposed penguin species; the Center and TIRN also intend to file suit against Interior for denying protections to emperor and rockhopper penguins. Warming oceans, melting sea ice, and fishery harvests have wreaked havoc on penguins’ food supply: krill, an essential nutrient for penguins, whales, and seals, has declined by up to 80 percent since the 1970s over large areas of the Southern Ocean. Reduced food supply has diminished populations of species ranging from southern rockhoppers and Humboldt penguins of South American islands to the African penguin in southern Africa.

Endangered Species Act listing would protect penguins from multiple threats, raise awareness of their plight, and increase research funding. Federal approval of fishing permits for U.S.-flagged vessels on the high seas, for example, would require analysis and minimization of impacts on penguins. The Act also has a key role in managing greenhouse gas pollution by compelling federal agencies to look at the impact of the emissions generated by their activities on listed species and reduce those impacts."

In many ways this is a no-brainer. Protecting penguins won't cause the same kind of outcry that protecting other species does because there aren't really a lot of human activities that would be affected - it would just, as the press release says, raise their profile and ensure that the few activities that do affect them aren't causing them undue stress.

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