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U.S. Considers Listing Giraffes as Endangered Species
U.S. officials have announced that giraffes may qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act following a lawsuit filed by conservation groups at the end of last year. Once a foreign species is listed as endangered, they are given protections that prohibit the import and export of any part of the animal.
The lawsuit was brought on by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council after the U.S. Forest Service did not respond to a petition by the groups to consider the species current conservation status, citing extinction concerns over "all or a significant portion of its range."
Giraffa comelopardalis is imperiled by habitat loss, disease, civil unrest, overhunting and an increasing demand for international trade in skins, trophies and bone carvings with American markets being a significant contributor to the latter. More than 21,400 bone carvings, as well as thousands of skin pieces and hunting trophies, were imported into the country over the last decade, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Conservationists argue that limiting import and trade into the U.S. would give the species important protections to heighten global awareness through international cooperation.
"The U.S. on average imports more than one giraffe trophy a day, and thousands of giraffe parts are sold domestically each year," said Anna Frostic, an attorney for the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. "The federal government must now expeditiously take stock of the role we are playing in giraffe decline and how we can work to instead save these unique animals."
Africa's iconic species have dropped 40 percent in the last three decades with fewer than 70,000 mature individuals left throughout their native forests, shrublands and savannas of Africa. Just last year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature elevated the two of the nine subspecies to "critically endangered" for the first time last year.
However, endangered status does not prohibit hunting of the species outside of the U.S. Legal sport hunting is primarily at the national and international level, whereas locals tend to illegally harvest meat for food.
"The United States has long been complicit in the trade of giraffe parts, so it's time for the federal government to stick its neck out for this species," said Elly Pepper at NRDC. "The United States has taken action to help staunch the trade of numerous species in trouble. Sadly, now it is time to take action to ensure giraffes remain on the planet. They need Endangered Species Act protections and they need them now."
Hunter organizations like the Safari Club International oppose the listing, saying "not only is the listing unnecessary, but it would likely harm giraffe populations in countries where giraffes are thriving and which rely on regulated hunting to fund their national conservation programs."
Under the ESA, individuals or groups may submit a formal petition request to list a species and officials must make preliminary findings within 90 days in order to determine if the listing is warranted. The initial proposal was filed in April 2017 and was followed up by the lawsuit when USFWS had failed to issue a response for nearly two years. A spokesperson for the USFWS told CNN that the lawsuit did not affect the timing of the agency's decision. Now, officials will take public comments on the scientific and commercial impact before making their decision within a year.
- Giraffes declared an endangered species in Kenya ›
- Giraffes Are in Trouble--the U.S. Endangered Species Act Can Help ... ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."