Protect Alaska’s Bears, Wolves, and Other Rare Animals from Slaughter

Target: Greg Sheehan, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department

Goal: Ensure protection of Alaska’s endangered bears, wolves, and other predators.

Most recently on his laundry list of environmental blunders, President Trump has now overturned a crucial protection rule that was preserving Alaskan wildlife. The Refuge Rule was installed in the state of Alaska to protect animals such as bears and wolves from hunters who sought to control the populations in local areas. Initially the rule was created as a way to provide ecological balance between the caribou and the predators (such as bears and wolves) because of inhumane poaching techniques used by hunters.

The leader of the Humane Society called this move “an outrage for any animal lover in America” and his point is backed up by animal rights activists across the country. The only way to stop this act is to have the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department reinstate the Refuge Rule. Stand with us in demanding U.S. Fish and Wildlife protect endangered species and reinstate the crucial Refuge Rule.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Sheehan,

President Donald J. Trump seems to have a special hatred for the environment and all those who inhabit the land. His policies seem to directly support the belief that he does not care about what happens to any life aside from his. The Refuge Rule overturn is a huge loss for Alaska to take as the state fights to protect its evolving wildlife.

Laws like this may seem small because they are based on one state, but if we allow Alaska to start killing its wildlife, what is to stop other states from following suit? We need to stand up for our endangered wildlife immediately. We demand you do something about this outrageous ban.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Carl Chapman

Do Not Resume Hunting Endangered Fin Whale

Target: Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf. (roughly translated to Whale Inc.), Iceland

Goal: Do not resume the barbaric hunt of endangered fin whales after two years hunt-free.

The endangered fin whale will once again be threatened by gruesome killings from commercial hunting in Iceland, as the company that conducts the hunt, Hvalur hf, announced plans to resume the hunt after two years hunt-free. The whales are tied with rope to the side of a harpoon ship, dragged to shore, and butchered so that their meat can be sent to Japan.

The head of the company, Kristján Loftsson, said that the hunt was stopped two years ago for bureaucratic reasons, but public opinion has also been increasingly against hunting these whales, whose numbers are considered critically low outside of the Central North Atlantic region around Iceland. The aim of bringing the hunt back is reportedly to use the bones to make gelatin, the meat to develop iron supplements for the anemic, and the blubber for medical purposes that remain unspecified. This is allegedly a marketing strategy created to justify commercially hunting whales again, despite the cruelty of the practice and the risk to the conservation of these endangered animals. Sign below to demand that the fin whale be protected, not hunted.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear CEO Loftsson,

Please do not resume commercially hunting the endangered fin whale. The previous two years without the hunt were an important step for conservation, and to undo that for the sake of corporate profit is inhumane and irresponsible.

The public is opposed to hunting these endangered creatures, and the nature of the hunt—slaughtering whales for their meat and stringing them up to harpoon ships—is cruel and unnecessary, regardless of your company’s use of the carcasses. I urge you not to resume this brutal practice, and to instead work to protect these endangered creatures.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chris Buelow

Save Endangered Green-Haired Turtle from Extinction

Target: Josh Frydenberg, Minister for the Environment and Energy, Australia

Goal: Take stronger measures to ensure the long-term survival of the endangered Mary River turtle.

A turtle species native to Australia is in danger of extinction. The Mary River turtle is a unique Australian reptile known for growing green patches of algae on its head and shell and for its amazing ability to spend up to three days underwater without surfacing for air. Despite these amazing features, the turtle is also now recognized by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) as one of the world’s 30 most endangered reptile species. As the population of Mary River turtles has been in decline for over four decades, it may be only a matter of time before they are gone forever.

Early reasons for the turtle’s decline were due to overexploitation in the pet trade. Because of the turtle’s docile nature, vast numbers of eggs were collected to satisfy consumer demand. While this trade is now illegal, the turtle continues to face other ecological threats, such as habitat loss caused by dam construction.

The Mary River turtle is a truly unique animal that needs our help to ensure its future survival. Sign this petition and demand that the Australian government take all necessary measures to help this turtle thrive once more.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Frydenberg,

Mary River turtles were once commonly spotted in their native Queensland habitat before the pet trade and river dam construction caused their numbers to plummet. Now they are recognized by the Zoological Society of London as one of the world’s most endangered reptiles, and unless conservation efforts are stepped up, they may disappear forever.

Because continued development on the Mary River threatens these vulnerable turtles, it is vital that what little healthy river habitat remains be protected against further human encroachment. While this little turtle may not be as well known as other Australian species, such as the koala or platypus, it deserves just as much respect and attention. Please ensure that all necessary measures are taken to ensure its continued survival.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pandiyan V

Demand Facebook Stop the Sale of Illegal Animal Parts

Target: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Goal: Urge Facebook to remove content featuring illegal animal parts on group pages.

Cruel poachers have allegedly been given an international platform to sell their the fur, horns, and ivory of endangered animals. Facebook has been accused of displaying ads for well-known corporations on group pages run by notorious ivory and rhino horn traffickers from around the world. Advocates for wildlife conservation have complained that the company’s failure to crack down on this illicit trade is turning the social media platform into a online marketplace for poachers. Facebook has a responsibility to put an end to this illegal behavior.

Undercover investigators claim in their complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the ads run were featured on the same pages that illegal ivory, tiger teeth, and other parts from endangered species were being openly marketed. Gretchen Peters, executive director of the Center for Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime, says, “I have looked at thousands of posts containing ivory, and I am convinced that Facebook is literally facilitating the extinction of the elephant species.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has yet to comment on these serious allegations as the company deals with its latest scandal involving an alleged breach of private user data.

As one of 20 tech companies that recently signed on to the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, Facebook must honor its agreement and ban this illegal content. Sign this petition to demand that the company act immediately to remove these ads and help officials punish those responsible for running them.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Facebook has recently come under fire for a number of reasons. Among these is the fact that undercover investigators have allegedly discovered scores of internationally banned wildlife products for sale in private and public groups on your site. Users have reported seeing endangered Bengal tiger pelts, rhino horns, and elephant ivory advertised for sale on what appears to be an online black market on your site.

It is time that Facebook stop giving these illegal traffickers a platform where they can initiate their sales. You must remove this content immediately and assist in all efforts to track down and severely punish those responsible for advertising animal parts from endangered animals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Facebook

Stop Tree Clearing To Save Koala Population

Target: His Excellency Paul de Jersey, Governor of Queensland, Australia

Goal: Save Queensland koala population by preserving as many trees as possible.

Queensland’s koala population is rapidly disappearing due to mass tree clearings. The trees are chopped down to make room for housing and infrastructure, robbing the species of their natural habitat and rendering them vulnerable to the high concentration of fast-moving vehicles, predatory dogs, and lack of food due to industrialization of the land.

Nearly 5,000 koalas died within the span of four years, from 2012 to 2016, and the death toll continues to rise to this day. Koalas cannot thrive or survive outside their natural habitat, and the trees not only provide their shelter and water supply, but the gumleaves they subsist on. The fewer trees there are, the fewer gumleaves, thus many koalas starve to death if they are not hit by motorists or attacked by dogs first.

The species will disappear completely within a few years’ time if the tree clearings are not curbed. We cannot allow these wonderful animals to vanish from this planet forever. Sign this petition to demand a stop to the tree clearings in Queensland.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor de Jersey,

Queensland’s koala population may completely disappear in a few years’ time due to mass tree clearings. Many forests worth of trees have been cut down to make room for housing and infrastructure, robbing the species of their shelter and food source. This has caused nearly 5,000 koala deaths within four years, many of which were starvation-induced. Those that do not starve are killed by passing motorists or attacked by dogs.

You must stop the tree clearings before this species is gone for good. The koala is a vital species to Australia, and trees are vital to the ecosystem as a whole. You cannot allow industrialization to rob the planet of these wonderful animals. Ban the clearing of trees and give koalas a fighting chance.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Erik Veland

Stop Deadly Plastic Waste Killing Whales and Other Wildlife

Target: Isabel Garcia Tejerina, Minister of Agriculture, Fishers, Food and Environment for Spain

Goal: Reduce the amount of plastic waste that is entering the ocean and endangering whales and other marine species.

A sperm whale measuring over 30 feet and weighing over six tons was found dead on a Spanish beach. Local officials determining the whale’s cause of death discovered that the animal had swallowed over 60 pounds’ worth of plastic garbage, including disposable bags and nets used in the fishing industry. It is believed this caused the whale to develop a deadly infection, leading to his tragic demise.

Plastic poses many risks to whales and other forms of marine wildlife. While large pieces of plastic waste can cause lethal harm, as seen in the case of this sperm whale, even microscopic plastic particles are contributing to a slow death by poisoning for countless animals. Combined with overfishing and other forms of pollution threatening our seas, the addition of even more plastic waste could spell doom for many vulnerable species, including whales.

All countries have a responsibility to help clean up the ocean and stop contributing to the plastic waste epidemic. Sign this petition to urge the Spanish government to enact stronger laws and cut down on the amount of disposable garbage entering the sea.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Tejerina,

Government officials in Murcia have determined that the official cause of death for a sperm whale discovered on a regional beach was an intestinal infection caused by the whale’s ingestion of nearly 30 kilograms worth of plastic waste. Among the recovered garbage were scores of disposable bags, as well as nets and ropes widely used in the fishing industry. Combined, this human-produced waste contributed to the young sperm whale’s untimely death, and it is poisoning countless more creatures worldwide.

You must take necessary measures to enact stronger laws and regulations on plastic waste, as well as to limit the amount of disposable garbage that is entering Spanish waterways. Spain could pave the way to a more environmentally friendly future by eliminating disposable plastic bags nationwide and requiring that fishermen use equipment that is less harmful to wildlife. Please do your part to help ensure that the oceans will remain a haven for many living creatures for generations to come.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Richard Humphrey

Stop Allowing Hunters to Gun Down Wolves with Assault Rifles

Target: Bill Walker, Governor of Alaska

Goal: Stop hunters from using assault rifles to kill major predators like wolves by creating a no-kill buffer around Denali National Park.

Wolves are being killed at near record-high numbers in the area around Denali National Park, prompting officials from Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to shorten its annual wolf hunting season. While the DFG claims that the wolf population is not at risk, wildlife experts have expressed concerns about the state’s lax hunting regulations and the fact that these predators are increasingly being gunned down in large numbers by hunters using assault rifles on highly mobile snow machines. They fear it may be only a matter of time before the iconic wolves of Denali are hunted to extinction.

While shortening the wolf hunting season will help prevent more senseless killings, it cannot reverse the damage already done. If the wolves were to go extinct, this would not only be disastrous for the ecosystem– it would likely hurt Alaska’s economy as well. Denali National Park is the state’s biggest tourism draw, with many people visiting simply to get a chance to see the wolves in their natural habitat.

We must protect Alaska’s wolves for the future. Sign this petition to demand a no-kill buffer zone around Denali National Park and a statewide ban on using assault rifles to target major predator species, including wolves.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Walker,

Denali National Park is your state’s largest source of tourism revenue, drawing thousands of wildlife-lovers annually. Many of these visitors come simply to see wolves in their natural habitat, a sight that has vanished in so many other parts of the world. Yet thanks to lax regulations on predator control in Alaska, the wolves may soon disappear from Denali as well.

Large predatory species, such as wolves, play a pivotal role in ecosystems by managing herbivore populations. When they are killed at unsustainable rates, as is happening in the area around Denali and statewide, the entire ecology of the region is negatively impacted. That is why we are urging you to establish a no-kill area around Denali National Park, and to change hunting regulations to prohibit the use of high-powered assault rifles against large predators, including wolves.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: D. Kopshever/National Park Service

Praise India for Punishing Celebrity Guilty of Illegal Hunting

Target: Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court

Goal: Praise Indian court for protecting wildlife animals and holding illegal hunters accountable.

A famous Bollywood star in India has been sentenced to five years in prison and fined $153 for poaching a species of protected Indian antelope. It is believed that the actor, Salman Khan, and four other actors were present in the car during the incident in 1998, but fled when caught, leaving the dead animals behind. The other actors were found not guilty due to lack of evidence.

Without a special permit, most wildlife species are off limits to hunters in India. Khan was arrested for hunting two antelopes and three other gazelles, and eight years later, he was convicted of killing the antelopes. The charges hung over him for the next decade, but in 2016, he was found not guilty of poaching the gazelles. The allegations first came from a witness who wrote down the vehicle number as it sped away from the scene. In 2018, finally, Khan was found guilty of illegal poaching.

Because of his status and affluence, Khan continues to be showered with affection from his fans. Although he has a history in court for drunken misbehavior, domestic abuse, and a fatal hit-and-run, his male followers empathize with him, claiming that he is only a human male who makes mistakes. This is a toxic attitude, but sentencing him to prison and issuing a fine signals that not even celebrities should walk free if they violate wildlife laws. Sign the petition below to praise the Rajasthan High Court for protecting wildlife and enforcing laws regardless of status.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Justice Nandrajog,

Salman Khan, a famous Bollywood actor, has been sentenced to five years in prison and fined for illegal hunting in 1998. While filming a scene, Khan (and allegedly several other actors) killed the animals, which were then a vulnerable and protected species. While the other actors were acquitted, Khan is going to pay the price for harming wildlife.

Celebrities should not be given a free pass when it comes to following wildlife regulations. Although Khan’s fans still adore him after allegations and instances of domestic abuse, drunken misbehavior, a fatal hit-and-run, and illegal poaching, I am glad that the court is serving justice for wrongly killed animals. I applaud your efforts in enforcing wildlife laws, even for citizens of high social and economic status. With this guilty verdict, India demonstrates that it does not tolerate illegal hunting and will do what it takes to protect wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont

Protect Europe’s Heaviest Flying Bird

Target: Borja Heredia, Head Avian Species Team, UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Goal: Promote and increase support for organic farming to help protect great bustard populations.

The European great bustard is an endangered species suffering from intensive agriculture and man-made structures. It is an important species because it has the potential to determine the health of an area’s biodiversity. Spain and central Europe house the largest populations of great bustards, but their numbers have been steadily declining in Ukraine and Russia, especially. Poor management and conservation programs, along with intensive agriculture, have negatively affected their numbers in these areas.

Intensive agriculture uses pesticides and fertilizers that kill off insects in open landscapes, where great bustards live. If these lands use toxic chemical inputs, the bird no longer has insects to eat. Great bustards can be used as a flagship species (or symbol) for areas that use less-intensive agriculture. If we focus on protecting the great bustard, the entire health of open landscapes in Europe will also improve.

Another issue great bustards face are structures that obstruct their way, which often result in fatal interactions. Power lines are hazardous, as great bustards fly in low altitudes and cannot see them. Railway cables, wind parks, and roads are also a problem because they are barriers to movement and fragment landscapes.

To restore populations across Europe like they have done in Germany, conservation efforts must be implemented through decreased use of pesticides and fertilizers, leaving fields fallow, and ensuring that the birds have enough resources to support their young. Sign the petition below to urge the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals to promote organic farming to protect the great bustard population.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Heredia,

The UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals has the capacity and expertise to help protect endangered animal populations. The European great bustard is one such endangered species–Europe’s heaviest flying bird which has suffered declining populations over the past few decades. Intensive agriculture, which uses pesticides and fertilizers, power lines, roads, and railway cables have all contributed to its decline. However, Germany has shown that with successful conservation efforts and collaboration between various stakeholders, it is possible to restore their populations.

Organic farming, a less intensive form agriculture which typically does not use fertilizers or pesticides and allows time for the fields to recuperate, is one solution to the great bustard’s decline. If the UN promotes organic farming through different campaigns and interventions such as encouraging consumers to purchase organically-farmed produce, and helping farmers adopt more eco-friendly farming practices, we can still save the bird’s populations.

The great bustard can be used as a flagship species for open landscapes across Europe. Intensive agriculture kills off insects and plants, which negatively affects the bird’s resources for survival. If we protect it, we are protecting a whole region, simultaneously. I hope that the UN can devise and implement a campaign to promote organic farming, which can be a part of a bigger conservation effort to save the great bustard. I firmly believe that with collaboration across various stakeholders such as land-owners, farmers, conservationists, and hunters, we can help save the great bustard.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Franceso Veronesi 

President Trump: Do Not End Protections for Hundreds of Threatened Species

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Do not eliminate rule granting protections to nearly 300 threatened species, who will otherwise face the risk of extinction.

Almost 300 species classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act may lose their protections entirely if a proposed rule submitted by the U.S. Department of the Interior passes. Targeted species include southern sea otters, northern spotted owls, piping plovers, red knots, Yosemite toads, delta smelt, Santa Catalina Island foxes, and gopher tortoises. This proposed rule would affect mammals, birds, fish, and plants throughout the entire country, and would therefore be sure to have dire consequences.

The rule seeks to undo vital regulations that have been in place for 40 years, which grant these severely threatened species with the same level of protection as those on the Endangered Species List. Protections can only be loosened for any of these species if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deems it warranted. However, Endangered Species Director of the Center for Biological Diversity Noah Greenwald says if this new rule is enacted, it “could be the end for iconic wildlife like the northern spotted owl and southern sea otter. Trump is erasing America’s natural heritage to make his friends richer and allow polluters to ravage our environment.” He says, “The Trump administration just issued a death sentence to nearly 300 threatened species.” Sign below to demand that this wildlife be saved.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

The almost 300 threatened species of wildlife across the country that are currently afforded the same level as protections as those listed as endangered must remain protected. Iconic animals like the southern sea otter and northern spotted owl are two of many that will face extinction if the new rule proposed by the Department of the Interior is enacted and their protections are lost. The consequences of this proposed rule are dire and must not be allowed to occur.

As Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, states, “If these critical protections for threatened species are eliminated, Trump will go down in history as the extinction president. This administration’s assault on critical safeguards for our air, water, and wildlife is not supported by the American public. It threatens to undo decades of progress towards improving the health of the environment for people and wildlife alike.” I urge you not to allow this to happen. Please preserve the crucial decades-old regulations protecting these threatened species.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Pacific Region