Daily Archives: November 22, 2010

Lawsuit Launched Over Water Project That Will Hurt Endangered Kangaroo Rat

For Immediate Release, November 17, 2010

Contacts: John Buse, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 533-4416
Michael Fitts, Endangered Habitats League, (310) 947-1908

Lawsuit Launched Over Water Project That Will Hurt Endangered Kangaroo Rat

LOS ANGELES— Conservation groups today notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of their intent to sue over the federal agencies’ approval of a massive water-development project in Southern California that threatens the rare and highly endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat. The Hemet-San Jacinto Integrated Recharge and Recovery Program near Hemet in Riverside County would threaten one of very few remaining habitats for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, a charismatic jumping mammal with large hind feet that was once abundant in the San Bernardino Valley.

As proposed, the water project would require the construction of a large groundwater recharge basin, wells and infrastructure within the San Jacinto River channel, in the heart of the one of three remaining places in the world that support a viable population of San Bernardino kangaroo rats. It would deal a severe blow to the recovery of a species the Fish and Wildlife Service described in a 2009 report as already having a “low recovery potential.” The same report recognized the need to conserve as much of the remaining habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat as possible.

“Instead of protecting the few populations that remain, the federal agencies authorized further destruction of prime San Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat,” said John Buse, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which intends to bring the suit along with the Endangered Habitats League and San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society. “There aren’t many suitable areas left for the k-rat, and this project will leave even fewer options for bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.”

The challenge to the project is based on the federal Endangered Species Act’s prohibition of actions likely to jeopardize the survival and recovery of a species in the wild.

“The federal agencies haven’t disclosed the true extent of the project’s effects on the San Bernardino kangaroo rat,” said Michael Fitts, a staff attorney at the Endangered Habitats League. “As a result, they’ve missed an opportunity to explore alternative methods of maintaining water supplies that would result in less harm to the species.”

In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity challenged the Service’s decision to slash the critical habitat set aside for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat. That suit is still active.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 315,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.



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Orang Utans At Risk Of Losing Home

BERNAMA.COM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 (Bernama) — The orang utans, especially those in Sabah, risk losing their homes and eventually, their being.

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Malaysia executive director/chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma attributed this to deforestation and development near their habitat, undertaken over the years.

“There are over 11,000 orang utans in the forest of Sabah and the number is sadly decreasing. It is important, to stop any kind of development near their ‘home’ because it will reduce their space for living,” he said at a press conference after the ‘New Hope for Orang-Utan School Programme’ prize presentation ceremony here Friday.

Also present were BOH Plantation Sdn Bhd chief executive Caroline Russell and TV9 Brand Management Group head Feisal Malik.

Dr Dionysius said, it was important to preserve and conserve the ‘Man of the Forest’ population as it was an icon of the country and captured hearts across the globe.

On the ‘New Hope for Orang-Utan School Programme’ co-organised by WWF-Malaysia, BOH Plantation and TV9, he said it was an important programme to create awareness on the plight of the orang utans.

Sixty schools participated in the programme which ended on Oct 4, this year, whereby students had to spearhead a campaign with on-ground activities to promote awareness of orang utan conservation to their fellow peers and the wider community.

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan King George V, Negeri Sembilan won the first prize, bagging RM8,000.

Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Lembah Bidung, Setiu, Terengganu took the second prize of RM5,000 while Sekolah Menengah Dang Anum, Melaka won RM2,000 as second runner-up.

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