Denounce Ornithologist for Killing Endangered Bird

Target: David Yarnold, CEO of the Audubon Society

Goal: Denounce scientist who killed extremely rare bird in the Solomon Islands.

Deep within the forests of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, a male mustache kingfisher was photographed for the first time shortly before being killed for scientific research. This was Christopher Filardi’s decision, the director of Pacific Programs at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. According to his field journal, the bird ¨specimen¨ was collected for further speculation despite less than 1,000 remaining in the wild.

Although Dr. Filardi tried to justify his actions by saying that a specimen was needed to accurately record the bird’s features and decipher human impact on the birds’ survival, the scientific community is rightfully outraged. How can someone be searching for a bird for more than 20 years, only to take its life once it is encountered? Sign the petition to decry this unnecessary killing while urging influential conservationists to formally denounce such practices.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Yarnold,

As the CEO of the Audubon Society, you have the responsibility to serve as a watchdog in cases of unethical scientific research. Not long ago, fellow ornithologist Christopher Filardi stumbled across the extremely uncommon male mustache kingfisher on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands – its only known habitat. Moments after being photographed, this endangered species was euthanized. So far you haven’t expressed any outrage on this matter, which is disappointing, to say the least, considering the dwindling population.

In no way, shape, or form does the conservation of birds require killing rare ones for scientific study. Conservation biology doesn’t need to be so bloody. Such practices are going to send the wrong messages to future generations who will feel entitled to kill beautiful creatures found in nature. In short, it will set a dangerous precedent for human-animal interactions. Please rectify this cause by speaking out against this matter.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: American Museum of Nature History

Stop the Disappearance of Songbirds’ Habitat

Target: The Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

Goal: Protect garden warblers from habitat loss by encouraging the growth and preservation of thick scrubs.

Scotland’s garden warblers may be in danger of total habitat loss due to an increasingly tidy countryside. The birds prefer to live in thick brush over anywhere else, and due to the disappearance of wild brush, the species is becoming harder and harder to spot. Habitat loss often leads to severe endangerment, and possibly extinction.

While wild brush can be a risk due to the possibility of wildfires, it is not fair to simply dispose of all that remains. Brush can easily be contained to certain areas, to create a natural reserve for the birds so that they may enjoy their chosen environment and have a chance to fortify their numbers to prevent possible endangerment.

As of right now, the garden warbler is on the “least concern” list, but is still disappearing. By protecting areas of wild brush, we can take preventive measures against further endangerment of these charming little birds. Sign this petition to demand protected brush areas across Scotland’s countryside.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear First Minister Sturgeon,

Garden warblers are at risk for habitat loss. The birds prefer and thrive in thick brush, which is becoming rarer in Scotland’s increasingly tidy countryside. Understandably, there is a concern about wildfires caused by leaving thick brush to lie everywhere, yet it is not fair to the birds to remove every last trace of it. Habitat loss leads to endangerment, which can lead to extinction in a short time.

Currently, the garden warbler is on the “least concern” list, and you must not let that change. By preserving areas of thick brush as protected safe spaces for the warblers, we can let them thrive in their favored environment, thus eliminating a possible threat of their disappearance down the line. Please fund the creation of such safe spaces by ensuring the preservation of wild brush in the countryside.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Francesco Veronesi

Save Marine Life and Reduce Plastic Waste

Target: Dr. Wijam Simachaya, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Kingdom of Thailand

Goal: Stop mass amounts of mismanaged plastic waste from killing marine animals by minimizing the use of plastic.

A pilot whale that washed ashore in Thailand tragically died after five days in the care of veterinarians, who removed 17 pounds of plastic from the whale’s stomach. They pulled about 80 soaking wet plastic trash bags from inside the whale. Plastic debris is a global problem and is massively dangerous to wildlife—especially marine animals, because so much of this waste ends up in the ocean, where these animals mistake it for food. This is what scientists at the Thailand Department of Marine and Coastal Services say is the likely cause of this pilot whale’s death. As Nick Mallos of the Ocean Conservancy states, “Whether it’s a straw or whether it’s a bottle cap, those items can be eaten by animals, and they pose threats through getting stuck in their digestive tracts. It can tear their stomachs. So these products in their entirety are problematic, but what’s equally, if not even more, concerning is that over time these materials are in the ocean, they begin to break up into smaller and smaller pieces.”

According to a study in the journal Science, Thailand was among the six countries with the most “mismanaged plastic waste” in 2010. In light of the example of this whale’s death—which is one of the hundreds of thousands of marine deaths caused by plastic that go largely unnoticed by humans—many are calling on Thailand’s government to take action to reduce plastic by taxing either producers or consumers. As Enric Sala, a marine ecologist with National Geographic, points out, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean. The problem is so huge, but the solution is easy. We can stop plastic from getting into the ocean, and this has to happen at different levels.” Sign below to demand that Thailand do its part and reduce its plastic waste to save our oceans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Simachaya,

The horrific death of a pilot whale that washed ashore on the beaches of Thailand with 17 pounds of plastic lodged in its stomach is indicative of the massive threat posed to our ocean environments and marine life by plastic waste. This threat cannot continue to go unchecked. According to marine ecologist Enric Sala, “Every minute [there] is the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic going into the ocean.” Thailand must do its part to help solve this problem.

A study reported that Thailand was one of the top countries with “mismanaged plastic waste” in the year 2010. This problem is rampant in the Asia-Pacific region in particular, and it is therefore your responsibility to ensure that your country does its part. Now is the time to reduce Thailand’s plastic waste and ensure that it is better managed, by imposing taxes either on companies that produce these plastics or on the consumers who use them. I urge you to protect our environment for future generations, and to save the lives of the innocent creatures being killed by human waste. Please take steps immediately to reduce Thailand’s plastic use and keep our oceans clean.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Fabi Fliervoet

Do Not Allow Yellowstone Bison to be Slaughtered

Target: Ryan Zinke, United States Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Do not give in to demands from ranchers to kill herds of bison living in Yellowstone National Park.

Ranchers in Montana and Wyoming have pressured the federal government for years, urging them to kill off wild bison in nearby Yellowstone National Park due to overblown fears of the spread of certain diseases, including Brucellosis. Despite the fact that bison are a native species on the rebound after nearly becoming extinct over a century ago, this fear mongering has led Secretary Ryan Zinke, the head of the U.S. Department of the Interior, to call for the mass slaughter of these creatures.

Yellowstone National Park’s current superintendent, Dan Wenk, claims he is being forced to retire from his position because of his disagreements with Zinke, a Trump-appointed official with a long track record of opposing wildlife conservation. Wenk stands by research conducted by park biologists that suggests that the land can easily support the 4,000 estimated bison currently living there, and that the bison are not causing overgrazing, as Zinke and his staff have claimed.

The case for killing Yellowstone’s bison rests on bad science and a desire to put profits over conservation and the environment. Sign this petition to tell Zinke that the bison in Yellowstone have every right to remain and thrive on this protected land.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I’m writing to inform you that the National Park Service is not a livestock management program, and should not be treated as such. The 4,000 estimated bison that live in Yellowstone National Park are a part of the natural ecosystem, and should not be removed to satisfy local ranchers.

Your demands that Yellowstone officials, including superintendent Dan Wenk, cull at least 1,000 bison may satisfy the livestock industry, but it is bad for the environment and for the many tourists that visit the park with the hopes of seeing these majestic creatures. If these animals are killed, the only people who will benefit are a handful of ranchers whose operations extend to near the park’s boundaries. We urge you to look at the scientific research for yourself and to not call for this senseless killing of Yellowstone’s bison.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Daniel Mayer

Stop the Decline of Australia’s Large Fish Species

Target: The Honourable David Littleproud, Australia’s Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Goal: Protect Australia’s large fish species from further decline.

Excessive fishing has caused a decline of 30 percent in several of Australia’s large fish species. While climate and habitat change also play a role in this decline, it has recently been shown that overfishing is the lead cause. And while 30 percent in the past decade may seem like a small decline, it is a slippery slope when it comes to wildlife vulnerability and endangerment.

Every wildlife species is important to the ecosystem, but large fish are especially vital as they control the krill and plankton populations as well as any potential overgrowth of seaweed or algae. Marine ecologists are pushing for a review of the current fisheries and their impact on the environment; unfortunately, assistant minister for agriculture and water resources Anne Ruston claims there is no need for such a review, calling the fisheries “world class.”

We cannot allow overfishing to cause a further decline in large fish species. The loss of even a single one could do irreparable damage to the oceans and overall environment. Sign this petition to demand the ministry allow the review and aid in the protection of large fish species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Littleproud,

Australia’s seas have seen a slow but steady decline of several large fish populations due to excessive fishing, in addition to climate and habitat change. This is a slippery slope, as 30 percent can easily become more, and lead to extinction within years. Every species of fish is vital to the ecosystem, and larger fish control the population of smaller ones as well as any overgrowth of seaweed or algae.

You must allow for a review of Australia’s fisheries as soon as possible. Excessive fishing has been a problem for years, causing a decline in many other fish species as well as endangering other marine wildlife. Fisheries need to be evaluated and possibly changed in order to protect these fish species from further decline.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sea Dave

Ban Commercial Fishing in Australian Marine Park

Target: Josh Frydenberg, Environment Minister of Australia

Goal: Protect endangered hawksbill turtles by keeping marine park closed to fishing.

The critically endangered hawksbill turtle has been spotted migrating towards the Coral Sea marine park in Australia. Unfortunately, the Australian government plans to open the park to commercial fishing very soon, which could easily mean the end of the species. Worse, environment minister Josh Frydenberg is defending this decision.

Commercial fishing is one of the leading causes of endangerment and extinction among aquatic wildlife, due to the animals getting snagged on fishing lines or caught in drift nets. It is also very disruptive and destructive to their habitat and feeding habits; krill and other small fish are caught with lines or in nets, and even seaweed and other plants can be disturbed or uprooted this way. The Coral Sea currently serves as a highway between the hawksbill’s nesting beaches and feeding grounds, but if commercial fishing is legally permitted, both the species’ nesting and feeding will be heavily compromised.

The hawskbill turtle has already been hunted to near extinction for its shell. If commercial fishing is allowed to disrupt their habitat and lifestyle, the species could disappear forever. Sign this petition to demand the Coral Sea marine park be kept free of fishing.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Frydenberg,

Your support of the Australian government’s decision to allow commercial fishing in the Coral Sea marine park is a dangerous one. The Coral Sea currently serves as the highway between the nearly-extinct hawksbill turtles’ nesting beaches and feeding grounds, and the legal allowance of commercial fishing will badly disrupt their habits and daily lives. They will either become snagged on fishing lines or caught in nets.

The hawksbill turtle has already been hunted to near-extinction for their shells, and if their habitat is infringed upon, they will disappear forever. Do not allow commercial fishing in any part of the Coral Sea marine park. You must allow this park to remain a safe space for the hawksbill, along with any other vulnerable aquatic wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Aquaimages

Stop Killing Cambodia’s Endangered Animals for Meat

Target: Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister

Goal: Stop the illicit trapping of wild game in Cambodia that threatens many endangered species in the area.

Many endangered species in Cambodia are threatened by the population’s demand for bushmeat. This demand has burgeoned into a significant illicit market for commercial hunters and is decimating wildlife populations in the tropical forests of Cambodia.

Bushmeat is wild game (often trapped illegally) from non-domesticated animals in tropical forests. Some poor rural areas use bushmeat for sustenance but more often than not hunters are urban elite who view bushmeat and the hunt as a status symbol. Many consider bushmeat to be a delicacy or to have health benefits over domesticated meat, but often eating bushmeat is a pathway for the transfer of tropical diseases such as Ebola from animals to humans.

Cambodia is a prime location for illegal game trade, which can include many endangered species such as sun bears, hog deer, and the Sunda pangolin which are caught for eating. Other animals such as baby Asian elephants can also become accidentally ensnared in bushmeat traps. Experts estimate that over half of the species illegally trapped are nearing extinction. Many Cambodians are unaware that many of these species are endangered; to those who are aware, the scarcity makes bushmeat even more desirable to obtain.

The demand for bushmeat has decimated populations of many endangered species in Cambodia and there is no end in sight. Crackdowns on individual hunters and the removal of traps has been largely inadequate to curb the trapping of these protected species. More education is needed to change the public’s view on bushmeat and reduce demand. Additional enforcement will also help to limit activities of larger-scale bushmeat trade organizations. Sign the petition for Cambodia to educate its citizens and crack down on illicit bushmeat trade and protect endangered species from extinction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Hun Sen,

Illegal bushmeat trade in Cambodia has reached unprecedented levels, pushing many endangered species near extinction. Trapping of endangered species for sale as food, especially rare tropical animals, should not be tolerated by the government.

Although some may blame subsistence hunters for the decreasing wildlife populations, the trapping and consumption of bushmeat is seen as a status symbol for elite, who simply don’t care that these animals are critically endangered. They also don’t care when other animals, such as baby Asian elephants, not intended to be trapped become ensnared and die at their hands. This cruel practice needs to end.

Cambodia should educate the public on the ill effects of bushmeat trade, including loss of biodiversity, unintentional trapping of non-game animals, and the potential transfer of tropical diseases to humans. The current enforcement resources are not sufficient to end the illegal bushmeat trade and protect these endangered species. Please, educate your citizens to reduce demand for bushmeat and enforce restrictions on commercial hunting organizations participating in this illicit activity. It is critical to the conservation of your nation’s precious wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: A. J. T. Johnsingh, WWF-India and NCF

Save the Endangered Pacific Marten from Extinction

Target: Greg Sheehan, Principal Deputy Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Place Pacific marten back on endangered species list to ensure survival.

Studies warn that Pacific martens in Oregon could face extinction within the next few decades if conservation efforts aren’t made. Found in remote forest habitats in coastal Oregon and Northern California, marten populations have been sparse across the board ever since they reemerged in 1996. Numbers have drastically dwindled due to trapping, roadside fatalities, and habitat destruction. In 2015, conservationists petitioned to put the species back on the endangered species list, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed it ¨unwarranted.¨ This is what needs to change.

Ongoing research at the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station led by Katie Moriarty shows that there’s one community around the Oregon Dunes that’s especially vulnerable to extermination. What she discovered were restrictive living spaces for martens to inhabit with the nearby Highway 101 serving as a barricade. Considering that Pacific martens were considered extinct for 50 years, they deserve our utmost protection. The first step to saving them involves guaranteeing federal recognition of their endangered status. Take action by signing the petition.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Sheehan,

Reports from the U.S. Forest Pacific Northwest Research Station in Oregon say a population of Pacific marten will soon perish if they aren’t properly cared for. Wildlife expert Katie Moriarty from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station is currently monitoring a richness (collective of martens) where only 71 adult martens remain in two small communities by the Umpqua River. One of the groups south of the river faces up to 99 percent risk of extinction according to the wildlife organization. All of this is due to habitat loss and human action.

Believed to have been extinct for 50 years, this rare species of marten only reappeared in 1996. Not having them federally classified as endangered seems ludicrous based on their legacy. Seeing that your committee expects to redetermine the Pacific marten’s status in October 2018, please understand that their survival depends on their inclusion into federal programs. Such classification will increase the likelihood of obtaining more lands for their future occupancy. Legal protections are essential for subpopulations around the Umpqua River to interact and reproduce at higher rates.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Oregon State University

Promote the Conservation of Cuckoo Bees

Target: Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office in Alberta

Goal: Guarantee the continual study of cuckoo bees to ensure biodiversity growth and environmental conservation.

The rare macropis cuckoo bee (Epeloides pilosulus) is charting new territory in western Canada. Recently the endangered species appeared in Alberta for the first time in recorded history. With mainstream news of bees primarily revolving around colony collapse and loss of habitat, scientists say this bee lineage represents a new part of the story.

Part of what makes this non-pollinating bee special is its ¨kleptoparasitic¨ adaptations. Specifically, they install their eggs in nests of other pollinating species. Called ¨social parasites¨ due to their ability to take over hives, they also allude to an area’s biological health. Since bees require plants for sustenance, more cuckoos (originally presumed extinct) signify that enough nutrients are supporting hosts. This tells researchers that honey bee populations may finally be recuperating.

The cuckoo bees’ expanded range  marks a major milestone in environmental studies, one conservationists should work diligently to protect. This migration should be vigilantly monitored to better track environmental progress in Alberta. Depending on where the cuckoo bees end up could help the scientific community better understand how bees are prospering. Let public support guide conservation efforts by signing the petition.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Phillips,

For the first time ever, the endangered cuckoo bee appeared at Elk Island National Park in Alberta. Even though these solitary specimens are considered parasitic based on how females lay eggs in pollinating bee hives – they’re indicative of an area’s biological health. These bees are completely reliant on their pollinating hosts for survival, who in turn depend on plants. Therefore, when plant species disappear, so do the cuckoo bees.

Seeing their new progressions signifies that fauna is flourishing in the area. Let’s maintain the momentum by investing in further investigations. One way to improve the likelihood of survival would be by planting ¨swamp candle¨ plants in marshy areas. In addition to colony collapse, the development of wetlands is another major threat to cuckoo bees. Yet more of them means improvements are underway and should be continuously monitored. For an insect assumed to be extinct to suddenly reappear is certainly worthy of further research efforts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: linsepatron

Save the Chinese Giant Salamander From Extinction

Target: Han Changfu, Minister of China’s Ministry of Agriculture

Goal: Preserve dwindling populations of the critically endangered Chinese giant salamander.

One of the world’s most awe-inspiring amphibians – and a cultural icon in the regions it calls home – may soon be no more if immediate action is not taken. In recent months, researchers have discovered a dishearteningly low number of Chinese giant salamanders in China’s wildlands. The animals are quite a sight, with the potential to grow up to six feet lengthwise and up to 150 pounds in weight: the size of a tall human being. These lizard-like wonders also have a cherished place in Chinese lore, as they may have inspired the renowned yin and yang symbols.

Unfortunately, the uniqueness of these animals also makes them an attractive target for poachers and for individuals who value them as an ingredient in Chinese medicine or for exotic food. Other factors such as pollution and subsequent habitat loss have also compounded the plight of these kings among salamanders. Ironically, one of the greatest recent threats rests in the release of commercially farmed salamanders back into the wild. When these released animals breed with the purebred salamanders, it weakens the species as a whole: a species that is called a “living fossil” precisely because its genetic makeup has seen virtually no major alterations in its 150 million-plus year history.

Sign this petition to urge the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to heighten its efforts at conserving some of history’s most wondrous animals.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Changfu,

The Chinese giant salamander has remained entrenched in Chinese history and culture. You have made admirable efforts at preserving and conserving these living beings by placing them on your endangered species list, holding poachers accountable under the law, and by encouraging the release of these animals from farms.

Despite these efforts, your country’s famous salamanders –  “living fossils” of historical importance to the world as a whole – stand on the brink of extinction. Recent reports reveal a distressingly low percentage of these animals in the environment, with an even lower percentage from the original, millennia-long strain of wild salamanders. The farm release programs may have contributed to this latter problem by, in the words of one researcher, “genetically swamp[ing] out” the original salamanders. These same researchers advocate for a modified captive release program that emphasizes the preservation of the wild salamander’s genetic lineage.

If extinction does claim the Chinese giant salamander, the elimination of such an apex predator from the food chain has the potential for crippling effects that reverberate throughout entire ecosystems. Please take every measure to ensure these amazing natural wonders remain part of your country’s heritage for many more centuries.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: SH Jefferson