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Suppressed science: How Politics Drowned Out Science for Ten Endangered Species


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Suppressed science: How Politics Drowned Out Science for Ten Endangered Species

  1. 1. How Politics Drowned Out Science for Ten Endangered Species
  2. 2. Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle After declining by over 97% in the Eastern Pacific, the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife rightly approved a rule in 2015 to protect the Pacific leatherback from drift gillnet fishing—the Trump administration withdrew this proposed rule in June 2017.
  3. 3. FWS’s 2017 Draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan ignores scientists’ recommendations for recovery and proposes giving conservation-opposing states, Arizona and New Mexico, veto power over species management activities. Mexican Wolf
  4. 4. Trump administration-supported policy changes and proposed plan amendments are weakening already weak sage-grouse protections. Greater Sage-Grouse
  5. 5. photo©KatieSteiger-Meister/USFWS Pallid Sturgeon Science indicates that pallid sturgeon recovery is only possible if their young are able to mature—almost impossible with dams blocking their ability to swim upstream to spawn and newly-hatched young to drift downstream to mature.
  6. 6. San Jacinto Valley Crownscale Although the crownscale has been listed as endangered for almost 20 years, political interference has kept FWS from designating critical habitat—no critical habitat means on-going development and further species decline.
  7. 7. Ocelot The last straw for the U.S. ocelot may be the Trump administration’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall—science shows that habitat connectivity is a primary threat to the ocelot.
  8. 8. Political and industry pressure on the FWS led to multiple listing denials for the dunes sagebrush lizard, with the last petition causing a former regional director of the FWS to admit, “there was no way that we were going to list a lizard in the middle of oil country during an election year.” Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
  9. 9. Multiple listing petitions, an ignored court order, and years of red tape have left the Hermes copper butterfly and its habitat unprotected. Now the Hermes is a couple of new subdivisions and one major wildfire away from extinction. Hermes Copper Butterfly
  10. 10. North Atlantic Right Whale The critically endangered right whale population of fewer than 450 is facing further threat by the Trump administration’s offshore oil and gas drilling agenda—plans to open the entire Outer Continental Shelf to energy exploration, leasing, and development, while preventing the designation of marine sanctuaries in right whale habitats.
  11. 11. Research suggests that 31 percent of current wolverine habitat will be lost to climate warming. State government and industry interference in wolverine recovery, along with climate science denial, could again wipe out one of the most iconic wild predators in the U.S. North American Wolverine
  12. 12. Report developed by Scientific references and citations that support this report are available at: in partnership with