Six wins for endangered species

Rare birds and the world's most endangered whale all got good news this week.

Win # 1: Two years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing 95% of the endangered marbled murrelet's designated protected habitat. Conservationists argued this would lead to an increase in logging in the Pacific Northwest, and threaten the rare shorebird with extinction. This week, FWS reversed its plans, and the critical habitat will stay in place. Loggers, of course, aren't happy, but then again, they never are.

Win # 2: The North Pacific right whale, the "world's most endangered whale," has been officially declared an endangered species by the National Marine Fisheries Service. This means the species gains protected status under the Endangered Species Act, a move that could save the last 50 (or so) members of the species from threats posed by offshore oil and gas drilling.

Win # 3: The long-standing struggle between feral cats and endangered shorebirds in Cape May, New Jersey has a solution that will make both sides somewhat happy. The cats get to stay, but they'll be fenced off from key beach habitats.

Win # 4: The bald eagle is back on the Endangered Species List in Arizona. There are only 50 breeding pairs of eagles in the state, and a judge has ruled that they still need protection.

Win # 5: The last 160 critically endangered Fuertes's Parrots have a new home: a 1500 acre private preserve created to protect them. The bird was rediscovered in 2002 after being thought extinct since 1911.

Win # 6: Another bird thought extinct until 2003, Fiji's long-legged warbler, "has been placed on the list of endangered world wide birds facing extinction by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service." (This doesn't sound like it's been added to the Endangered Species List, but hey, it's at least a recognition that the last 230 warblers need protection.)