Punish Teens Who Allegedly Killed Mother Possum and Her Babies

Target: Vic Reynolds, District Attorney for Cobb County, Georgia

Goal: Demand that the teenagers who allegedly tortured and killed a mother possum and her four babies receive the maximum penalty possible by law.

A mother possum and her four babies allegedly suffered and died at the hands of two teenagers. Per police, the teenagers reportedly beat the possums with a baseball bat and poisoned the babies. Demand justice for these poor possums.

Cobb County police issued arrest warrants for two teenagers after a video, posted on social media, allegedly showed them torturing and killing five possums. Per police, 19-year-old Rocquavious Williams and a 16-year-old male reportedly beat the mother possum with a baseball bat and then poured a mixture of bleach and ammonia onto the four baby possums. The video caught the attention of a high school student, who then reported it to their school police officer.

The teenagers were charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Williams faces an additional charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Sign below to demand that these teenagers receive the maximum penalty possible by law, if convicted.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear District Attorney Reynolds,

A mother possum and her five babies were reportedly beaten and poisoned to death in a shocking case of animal cruelty. Two teenagers recorded themselves committing the alleged abuse and then posted the video on social media. We demand justice for these innocent possums.

Cobb County police charged 19-year-old Rocquavious Williams and a 16-year-old male with aggravated animal cruelty after they allegedly tortured and killed five possums. Per police, the teenagers reportedly beat the mother possum to death with a baseball bat and then poured a mixture of bleach and ammonia onto her four babies. A high school student watched the video on social media and then reported it to their school police officer, leading to the arrest of Williams and charges against both males.

If found guilty of this gruesome act, then these teenagers must be punished. We demand that you seek the maximum penalty in this case.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: daynaw3990

Protect Walruses Foraging in Alaskan Village

Target: Bill Walker, Governor of Alaska

Goal: Encourage protection of walruses foraging in Alaskan village.

Roughly 200 walruses have crowded the beach of a small Alaska village to forage for food. This village seems to be the optimal foraging area for the creatures, who feed on the mollusks living on the nearby ocean. Walruses can spend as many as seven months seeking food, especially the bull walruses who provide for their families.

Since 2017, the walrus has been especially vulnerable due to the Trump administration’s refusal to put them on the endangered list. The species is indeed endangered, with the number of foraging walruses having dropped from 10,000 to as little as 2,000 since the 1980s. Additionally, walruses are very easily scared off by any disturbances; noisy approaches by people can startle them into stampedes that kill other wildlife, and continued disturbances by beachgoers or the noises associated with human activity can drive them away from the area.

We must ensure that these walruses are strongly protected during their stay on this beach, and during any subsequent returns, especially after they have been denied legal protection as an endangered species. Sign this petition to protect the walruses and help grant them an easy time during their forages.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Walker,

A large group of walruses has taken up residence on the beach near Port Heiden, where they will spend the next several months foraging for food. The species has been endangered for years, and is especially vulnerable now due to the Trump administration’s refusal to put them on the endangered list. They lack government protection, and can easily be scared away from their foraging and resting spots by excessive noise and crowds.

You must ensure that these walruses are protected during their stay here, and during any subsequent returns. Their numbers have dropped drastically since the 1980s, and they are in need of extra protection due to being left off the endangered list. Please ensure that the village and surrounding area will accommodate these animals and allow them to forage safely and peacefully.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Joel Garlich Miller

Support Harsher Sentences for Wildlife Poachers

Target: Najib Balala, Minister for Tourism and Wildlife, Kenya

Goal: Support the decision to enact more stringent laws to protect Kenya’s wildlife by making poaching a capital offense.

Following the tragic death of Sudan, the last male white rhino left on earth, Kenya has announced its intention to strengthen laws against wildlife poaching and ensure that criminals who break these laws face the most severe consequences. Kenya’s Minister for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, made the announcement at an event to launch a commemorative stamp in honor of Sudan and raise awareness of the plight of animals like the white rhino. The new laws will face offenders of wildlife poaching with capital punishment.

Balala stated, “We have in place the Wildlife Conservation Act that was enacted in 2013 and which fetches offenders a life sentence or a fine of $200,000 U.S. dollars. However, this has not been deterrence enough to curb poaching, hence the proposed stiffer sentence.” He says that under the new laws, “offenders of wildlife crimes will face the death penalty in accordance with the laws of the land.” This is a momentous stand for humanity, compassion, and the preservation of wildlife. Sign below to support Kenya’s dedication to treating poaching as the serious offense it is, and ensuring that it is not condoned or tolerated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Balala,

Your statement of Kenya’s intent to strengthen the consequences of and laws against poaching are an important victory for wildlife preservation and for humanity. Poaching is an inhumane and unacceptable crime. Thank you for recognizing that and taking action to discourage and punish poachers for breaking the laws of the land.

As you stated, the laws Kenya currently has in place are evidently insufficient in curbing poaching. Additionally, the move to make wildlife poaching a capital offense sets a positive example for other countries where poaching is a widespread problem. I support these new laws, and I thank you for taking a stand to protect wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg

Stop the Barbaric Slaughter of Thousands of Kangaroos

Target: Mick Gentleman, Minister for Planning and Land Management of the Australia Capital Territory

Goal: Stop the Australian government from needlessly killing thousands of native kangaroos.

Australian officials have approved the culling of kangaroos in the Australian Capital Territory for yet another year. For the next three months, thousands of the native marsupials will be massacred in an attempt to control their population. Kangaroos are an essential part of Australia’s natural ecosystem and help reduce the risk of damaging brush fires, and therefore must be protected against this needless form of cruelty.

As part of the annual cull, unlicensed hunters are allowed to participate and kill virtually any animals that they find in a variety of inhumane ways, including the clubbing of young kangaroos and their mothers. Additionally, those opposing the cull have faced prosecution, making it difficult for animal rights groups to rally against the ongoing cruelty.

The Australian government must listen to the voices of those who stand against this cull that lacks any scientific basis and results in the suffering and death of thousands of animals. Sign below to demand that officials seek non lethal alternatives to controlling the kangaroo population.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Gentleman,

Each year since 2009, thousands of kangaroos have been ruthlessly killed each year in the Australian Capital Territory as part of a misguided attempt to control their population. While kangaroos are prolific by nature, they are an integral part of the ecosystem and help maintain Australia’s biodiversity while reducing the risk of damaging fires by clearing away excessive brush.

Unless government officials intervene, thousands of kangaroos will be killed in a host of inhumane and cruel ways, including the brutal clubbing of young joeys and their mothers. These native creatures should be allowed to thrive as they have for millennia, not killed in mass numbers to make way for livestock or other human endeavors. If population control is indeed necessary, we urge you to find humane, non lethal alternatives that do not cause harm to one of Australia’s most iconic species.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bilby Summerhill

Stop Cruel Dolphin Hunting Practices

Target: Helder Barbalho, Brazilian Minister of State for Fisheries and Aquaculture

Goal: Enforce existing ban on dolphin hunting in order to protect this critically endangered species.

Amazon river dolphins are experiencing a significant population decline due to hunting of these beautiful creatures for use as bait in commercial fishing. This cruel practice is causing the loss of these animals, much like the freshwater dolphins of China before them, who are now functionally extinct due to human activities. If these practices continue and the dolphins remain unprotected, soon there will be no freshwater dolphins left.

Two species of freshwater dolphin live in the Amazon River Basin: the boto and the tucuxi. Scientists in Brazil recently examined dolphin population surveys over the past 22 years and discovered that both species are approximately halving in population every ten years. Yet the International Union Conservation of Nature lists their conservation status as “Data Deficient.” If these scientists’ latest findings were taken into account, however, the conservation status for both species would likely be “Critically Endangered.” Scientists have examined every possibility for the cause of the dolphins’ decline, including commercial fishing, reduced food sources, river water quality impacts from mining or industry, and subsistence hunting. None of these appear to have caused this significant population loss, with the exception of commercial hunting.

The Brazilian government instituted a temporary ban on hunting these dolphins for use as bait, but this appears to be largely disregarded. Even with a hunting ban in place, these populations continue to decline due to illegal activities and their naturally slow reproduction rate. Females bear calves only once every four to five years, making population revival slow and difficult. Sign the petition to urge the Brazilian government to extend the existing dolphin hunting ban indefinitely and actually enforce it, before the Amazon river dolphins disappear as the Chinese river dolphins did.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Barbalho,

Commercial fishing is significantly reducing the Amazon river dolphin populations. These freshwater dolphins are a unique treasure in the Amazon river basin, but they are cruelly being captured and used as bait by commercial fishermen. Although these dolphins are technically protected under the temporary hunting ban, it seems the ban is largely unheeded.

Researchers have estimated the dolphins’ population to be halving every ten years based on a recent study of surveys taken over the past 22 years. Despite a plethora of proof to the contrary, the International Union Conservation of Nature conservation status of the Amazon river dolphins remains “Data Deficient.” Human activities have already caused the Chinese river dolphins to become functionally extinct, and the Amazon river dolphin is not far behind. Scientist believe if the recent study were taken into account, that these dolphins would be listed as “Critically Endangered” and require far more protection than a temporary hunting ban.

Acknowledging the detrimental effects of commercial hunting by instituting the temporary ban on commercial hunting is an important first step in righting this wrong. However, this ban appears to be ineffective and is only temporary. The dolphin hunting ban needs to be vehemently enforced and indefinitely extended before these beautiful creatures disappear completely.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michelle Bender

Protect Loggerhead Turtles from Microplastic Pollution

Target: Rick Scott, Governor of Florida

Goal: Expand microbead ban in Florida to protect species that live along the Gulf of Mexico, such as the loggerhead turtle.

Unseen pollution on the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico endangers wildlife such as the loggerhead turtle. Tiny bits of plastic pollution called microplastics are barely noticeable to humans but can significantly impact species that use these beaches, such as loggerhead turtles, who lay their eggs there. Florida needs to reduce this plastic pollution through enforcement of existing laws and the expansion of the Obama administration’s microbead ban in order to protect this wildlife.

Microplastic pollution, made of bits of plastic smaller than 5 mm, is caused by the use of tiny bits of plastic called microbeads in consumer products such as exfoliants and wash-off cosmetics. President Obama banned microbeads by executive order in 2015, which went into effect mid-2017, but this has not been enough. Microbeads can still be used in some products such as leave-on cosmetics and detergents and still find their way into the ocean and onto the beaches. These plastics are nearly impossible to remove from the wastewater stream through conventional treatment. This pollution can impact wildlife directly by accidental digestion or more insidiously by secondary impacts such as through the deposition of these nearly invisible plastics on beaches.

Loggerhead turtles lay eggs in the sands along the Gulf of Mexico and are significantly impacted by this microplastic pollution. Gender determination in loggerhead turtles is largely dependent on the temperature of the sand in which they develop. Plastic holds heat and causes greater temperature increases in the sand compared to moderate fluctuations in air temperature. Scientists have discovered in some cases of extreme plastic pollution that 99% of turtle hatchlings are female. This heat retention is causing dangerous impacts to the turtle populations and their abilities to reproduce, and scientists simply do not yet know the extent of these impacts.

The microbead ban has not tangibly reduced microplastics pollution. Several more loggerhead turtle breeding seasons could take place before the effects of the ban are seen, and even then more microbeads will have entered the environment through their continued use due to loopholes in the ban. By that time, significant changes could occur in the loggerhead turtle populations. Florida needs to expand this ban to cover all products with microbeads before it is too late. Sign the petition to encourage Florida’s governor to take the existing microbead ban further and institute real change to protect this sensitive turtle.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Scott,

Microplastic pollution is impacting loggerhead turtle populations that use Florida’s beaches to lay their eggs. This pollution is caused by the use of microbeads in consumer products that were not included in the 2015 ban by the Obama administration. This ban should be expanded to include all microbeads, especially in areas where impacts to sensitive populations could occur, such as along the Gulf of Mexico.

Loggerhead turtles who lay their eggs in the sand along these beaches are greatly impacted by microplastic pollution. The microbeads hold heat, unduly increasing the sand temperature compared to changes in ambient temperature. The temperature of the sand impacts the gender determination of the turtles, in some cases resulting in groups of eggs hatching that are nearly 99% female. Scientist do not yet know the extent of the impacts, only that microplastics have been found at every breeding site examined and are the likely culprit of the significant gender skewing in the turtle population. These microbeads are nearly impossible to remove from water using conventional wastewater treatment techniques, so a ban on the use of microbeads in all consumer products is critical to reducing this pollution.

Please, enact a more stringent microbead ban in Florida to include all microbeads. It is crucial to the loggerhead turtles’ survival that they be able to lay their eggs on clean beaches. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Protect African Forest Elephants from Extinction

Target: Senator Richard Shelby, Chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee

Goal: Save endangered species whose loss could impact us at home.

African forest elephants are a little-known endangered species that require our protection, yet the Trump administration continues to cut funding for environmental programs, including international conservation efforts. We need to encourage Congress to continue funding important conservation programs in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget in order to continue the protection of species with global significance, such as the African forest elephant.

African forest elephants are a critical component of their rainforest habitat of West and Central Africa, which is one of the largest sources of carbon sequestration on the planet. Herd movement allows for the spread of seeds, and the elephants’ digestive systems are a critical component in the germination of these seeds. They literally keep the rainforest growing and continuing to purge the atmosphere of harmful greenhouse gases. These gentle giants also forge paths for other smaller animals to travel through the rainforest for food, shelter, and mating. The loss of the African forest elephant would be an irreplaceable loss to the plants and animals that depend on them for survival. Habitat loss, poaching, and civil unrest have reduced the range of these herds to a quarter of their historical habitat region. It is estimated that fewer than 100,000 African forest elephants remain, resulting in their “Vulnerable” conservation status, which means they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

These elephants perform a critical function in their habitat and need protection. The rainforests that depend on the African forest elephant for survival are one of the largest sources of carbon sequestration on Earth. The loss of this species would not only have direct impacts on rainforest biodiversity, but major global impacts related to the control of greenhouse gases. Sign the petition to encourage Congress to continue funding international conservation efforts that are of tremendous importance locally and around the world.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Shelby,

I urge you to reject the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to environmental programs, such as international conservation efforts. Protecting endangered species abroad may not seem important, but I assure you that the loss of these species could impact us from across the globe.

The African forest elephant, for instance, is a little-known species of global importance but is endangered by poaching and habitat loss. The rainforests of West and Central Africa that these elephants inhabit are one of the largest sources for carbon sequestration on the planet, and maintenance of these forests is crucial in the control of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These elephants play a critical role in the rainforests, by dispersing seeds and aiding in the germination of seeds through their digestive systems. Fewer than 100,000 of these elephants are estimated to remain to continue their important function in this rainforest ecosystem.

I strongly support the funding of international conservation programs. It is important to our environment and our wellbeing, even though the issue may be geographically distant. Please, support these programs by passing the Fiscal Year 2019 budget with the same levels in appropriations as in previous years.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Damiano Luchetti

Help Conservationists Save Endangered Florida Panther from Imminent Extinction

Target: Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator for Florida

Goal: Provide much-needed funding to important organization dedicated to preserving the Florida Panther.

Approximately 180 Florida Panthers are left on Earth— a number that is quickly diminishing. These beautiful animals are going to go extinct if we don’t do anything to stop it. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has preserved millions of acres in an effort to protect Florida Panthers from extinction, but in order to keep the Florida Panther alive, they need funding.

Without funding, the Florida Panther will go extinct and humans are to blame. If Congress refuses to fund this program, then habitats like the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge & Conservation Area and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge will shut down and there will be dire consequences for these beautiful animals. Programs such as these are essential for the welfare of many animals. Demand that these programs are fully-funded, and the Florida Panther is saved from extinction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Rubio,

The Florida Panther is on the verge of extinction. With only 180 left in existence, action needs to be taken in order to protect this beautiful species. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is willing to put in the work to save these animals, but funding needs to be provided.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped provide clean water and conserve natural resources for more than 50 years. They have the dedication— all they need is the funding. Please provide full funding for this wonderful program so that the Land and Water Conservation can provide a safe space for the Florida Panther to thrive.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Justice for Wild Wolf Shot and Killed

Target: Poul Søgaard, President of the Denmark Supreme Court

Goal: Punish man charged with shooting and killing a wild wolf in Denmark.

One of the first wild wolves to return to Denmark after two centuries is dead. A 66-year-old man, name unknown, has been charged with the murder after reportedly being caught on video; he reportedly shot the wolf from the safety of his car, despite the animal not behaving aggressively or posing a threat. Reports claim the shooter displayed no reason beyond a “hatred for wolves.”

This is unacceptable. Wolves are an endangered species across the globe, and the loss of even one after their return to a location could compromise their numbers. Only a handful have made their return to Denmark within the past few months, but the country continues to cultivate the image of wolves as dangerous predators out for blood. This harmful stereotype has led to the deaths of many wolves over the years, especially in this decade alone. Thanks to the alleged actions of one hateful person, the return of Denmark’s wolf population has been compromised.

This man must face justice for his alleged crime against an endangered species, and be made an example for anyone else who may consider harming a wolf in the future. Sign this petition to demand the alleged culprit be punished accordingly.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Søgaard,

An elderly man has been charged with killing one of the first wolves to return to Denmark after over 200 years. Reports state that the man allegedly shot the wolf from inside his car, despite the animal not showing any signs of aggression or threat towards him; the only possible reason appeared to be a hatred for the species.

You must ensure that this man faces justice. Wolves are already a highly threatened species, especially in Europe. When a species is in this much danger, the loss of even one will compromise their revival; Denmark’s wolf population may never return to its former glory thanks to the alleged cruel and selfish actions of this man. Please see to it that he is punished accordingly for his alleged actions and serves as an example for anyone else who may attempt to harm Denmark’s wolves in the future. The population must be protected from such hateful acts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Jeff Dzadon

Save One of Yellowstone’s Most Popular Animals from Hunters

Target: Scott Talbott, Director at Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Goal: Do not sanction the killing of Yellowstone grizzly bears.

Yellowstone National Park just became the latest example of what dangers loom when an animal is prematurely removed from the federal endangered species list. Despite a court’s earlier contention that states should not be given free reign over their grizzly bear populations, the United States Interior Department recently gave the three states collectively housing Yellowstone National Park permission to hunt and kill the park’s vulnerable grizzly population at will.

The announcement comes as the department rescinded federal Yellowstone grizzly protections that first began in 1975. As a result of these protections, Yellowstone’s grizzly population had increased by seven times its number before protections were put in place. Now, this progress may well be lost as the still-struggling grizzlies, who already only cover less than five percent of their natural habitats, now face hunting threats compounded by more habitat loss due to climate change.

Two states, Wyoming and Idaho, quickly seized upon this outrageous reversal by proposing grizzly bear hunts as soon as this fall. Under Wyoming’s proposed new guidelines, hunters could claim the lives of up to 24 grizzlies.

Sign this petition and demand the Wyoming Game and Fish Department veto a proposal that threatens the livelihood of some of its state’s most awe-inspiring living beings.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Talbott,

About 50,000 grizzly bears once spanned this country, many of them calling your state home. Relentless hunting of these animals plummeted their numbers to genocidal levels and drove them to the federal endangered species list.

Now, when the grizzly is finally recovering from its near-extinction, it has been stripped of the very shields that protected it and preserved it for the enjoyment of generations of Yellowstone National Park’s visitors.

Just as the gray wolf received special consideration and protection because of its value to the environment and to your state’s history, the state’s grizzly bear population deserves the same respect. Do not take advantage of the Interior Department’s decision and put these vulnerable animals in the crosshairs of hunters.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service