Praise Indonesia for Protecting Endangered Species

Target: Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia

Goal: Praise efforts to stop wildlife crimes and help protect endangered species.

A council court in Indonesia sentenced two slow loris traders to three and a half years in prison and fined them $7,620, a historical ruling which will help deter wildlife crimes. In the past, illegal slow loris traders were sentenced to only 3-12 months even if they were caught with dozens of slow lorises, an endangered species, in their possession. This severe punishment will help send a message to the media and the public about the seriousness of wildlife crimes and will, ideally, help deter them in the future.

The two defendants were arrested in September, 2017 by the West Sumatra Quick Reaction Forest Police Unit of the Law Enforcement Department of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Sumatra Region. In their possession were nine caged Sumatran slow lorises, to be sold off on the streets or in illegal animal markets. Their teeth are usually clipped to make them easier to handle, making them susceptible to death from infection or blood loss before they reach the market. They are sold as pets, which is a craze fueled by YouTube videos portraying them as cute and cuddly.

Slow lorises are in danger of becoming extinct, and they belong in the wild, not in the hands of animal poachers or in homes. The collaboration between the Indonesian Department of Environment and the public courts to uphold severe punishments for wildlife crimes is helping deter future crimes. Sending a message that illegal trading is punishable up to the maximum penalty is the first step in protecting and conserving wildlife in Indonesia. Sign the petition below to thank the Ministry of Environment and Forestry for their efforts.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Bakar,

An Indonesian council court and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry worked together to sentence two slow loris traders to the maximum penalty of three and half years in prison and a fine of $7,260. This harsh sentence sends out a message that wildlife crimes are punishable by maximum penalties. For the endangered slow loris, this is a momentous ruling, as these animals are caught and sold in illegal animal markets to be kept as pets. Prior to being sold, their teeth are clipped, making them vulnerable to infection and blood loss.

While the average sentence for illegal slow loris traders used to be 3-12 months, even with substantial evidence against them, this recent trial shows that the government is serious about wildlife crimes. If a trader is found guilty of intentionally saving, collecting, pet-keeping, and trading live protected wildlife, they are subject to maximum penalties. I want to thank you for leading the Ministry in helping ensure that protected animals in Indonesia are kept safe. I hope that you continue to enforce the rules and regulations to increase public awareness about protecting and conserving wildlife.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Whitehead

Shut Down the Kangaroo Meat Industry

Target: The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Goal: Put an end to the kangaroo meat industry to save the species.

Kangaroos are heavily endangered, and a recent documentary has shown that this is largely in part due to the species being hunted for their meat. The grisly and shocking film exposed the harsh realities of the kangaroo meat industry, most notably the cruel methods used by slaughterhouses. Those who praised the documentary have pointed out the hypocrisy: those who clamor for better treatment of cows and chickens turn a blind eye to the plight of the kangaroo.

It is clear that the conditions in slaughterhouses are only part of the problem, however. The steady decline in kangaroos over the years due to poaching and environmental factors, plus the inhumane slaughter methods, are proof that the kangaroo meat industry is becoming more trouble than it is worth. With the loss of habitat and the species barely able to breed and keep their numbers stable, the constant poaching will render the kangaroo extinct in a matter of years.

We cannot let Australia’s iconic mascot disappear. We must ensure the kangaroo’s survival, and putting an end to the inhumane meat industry is the first step. Sign this petition to stop the poaching and slaughter of kangaroos.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Turnbull,

A recent documentary has exposed the harsh realities of the kangaroo meat trade, most notably the conditions and methods in the slaughterhouses. The kangaroo has recently been declared a highly endangered species overall, due to environmental factors and loss of habitat, but mostly due to poaching of the animals for their meat.

The decline of the species coupled with the cruelty of the slaughterhouses equal a toxic industry that must be shut down. Kangaroos are denied the chance to rebuild their numbers as they are hunted down, and the species could disappear completely in a matter of years if this practice is not stopped. You must ban the hunting and killing of kangaroos and shut down the meat industry as soon as possible. The lives of living creatures are worth far more than the monetary gain of their meat sales.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Matthew Wakefield

Save the Yucatecan Flamingos from Extinction

Target: Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico

Goal: Save the Yucatecan flamingos from extinction and end threats to their natural habitats.

The Yucatan area of Mexico is one rich with over 40 bird species, including pelicans and flamingos. However, now these species are under attack and facing possible extinction. Actions must be taken now to protect these rare birds.

Tourists come from all over the world to see thousands of pink flamingos in Mexico’s Yucatan. However, human activity is destroying their habitats, robbing the area of these birds. Pollution and construction destroy the flamingos’ homes and food sources, making it hard for this species to sustain itself.

The nation of Mexico is educating its citizens and teaching them about the dangers facing the flamingos and other birds. However, more must be done to protect the species. Sign the petition to demand that the Yucatecan flamingo be added to a list of endangered species so it can be protected and preserved for generations to come.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Alamán,

Tourists from all over the world travel to the Yucatan Peninsula to see the thousands of local and migratory birds that call this location home. One of the most famous bird species is the Yucatecan flamingo. However, this species and others like it are facing possible extinction due to human activity. Pollution and land clearing are robbing the animal of its habitat and food sources.

While the nation is taking serious steps to educate the public about the dangers facing the flamingos, more must be done. I demand that the Yucatecan flamingo be added to a list of endangered species so it can be better protected and preserved.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Katja Schulz

Save Rapidly Disappearing Whales from Extinction

Target: Angela Somma, Division Chief of the NOAA Office of Protected Resources, Endangered Species Conservation Division

Goal: Protect future generations of a critically endangered whale.

Amazing sea creatures that inspired awesome tales once roamed freely and plentifully in the North Atlantic Ocean. Now these awe-inspiring beings stand at a worldwide level of 450. The right whale, a long-time victim of unrestrained human practices, is on the brink of extinction.

In late February, researchers offered a status update on these vulnerable animals and the results were not promising. Whale sightings off the coast of Georgia and Florida—frequent winter destinations for right whales—remain extremely sparse. More disheartening still, no young calves have been found in the vicinity. The prospects for this population renewing its ranks grow murkier by the day.

The right whale is a sight to behold, spanning up to sixty feet and weighing upwards of 300,000 pounds. Their striking nature unfortunately made them vulnerable to whalers, who craved these animals for their benevolence, their near-to-the-coast swimming patterns, and their high blubber content. While the danger from these hunters abated after the right whale received endangered species protections, trends in global warming have disturbed these animals’ migration patterns and endangered the homes they rely upon for safety and sustenance. Addressing the dangers of global warming remains a work in progress, but the dangers imposed on right whales from other careless human activity can be more immediately rectified.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and other officials have been proactive in developing guidelines that helped significantly reduce two major dangers to right whales: ship strikes and fishing net entanglements. Critical calving and breeding grounds, however, have not received the needed level of protection. For example, a little over six years ago. the US Navy was granted permission to build an underwater training structure within short distance of one key whale calving area. Since then, a few calving areas have been given critical habitat designation, which helps protect them from some, but not all, human intrusion.

Sight this petition to urge the NOAA to be even more proactive in taking the necessary measures to save one of the world’s great living beings.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Somma,

Efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale have proven successful. The 2006 Strategy to Reduce Ship Strikes , the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction plan, and breeding ground revitalization efforts all address critical facets in ensuring this species’ continued survival.

We fear, however, that at a time when these animals’ well-being stands at its most precarious tipping point, you have scaled back your protective efforts. The latest reports from researchers indicate the already-sparse right whale population of 450 continues to shrink by the day. New members of this species are nowhere to be found. Rulings such as a 2012 decision to enable naval under-seas training near a calving ground constitute significant steps backward and an affront to conservation efforts.

Habitat loss, net entanglements, overhunting, and ship strikes have stood as some of the driving forces behind these animals becoming endangered. You have addressed several of these dangerous factors but others still need more work. Broadening your critical habitat designations (particularly relating to calving grounds) and leaving no room for loopholes and exceptions to these designations could become the most vital step yet.

Please recommit your resources and your best minds to saving some of the world’s most magnificent creatures from a tragic fate.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Catanzarit

Punish Tycoon Accused of Killing and Eating Endangered Leopard

Target: Khemchai Chutiwong, Attorney General of Thailand

Goal: Punish tycoon accused of killing and eating leopard in a protected forest.

An endangered leopard was allegedly killed and made into soup by CEO Premchai Karnasuta and his associates while they camped illegally in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. In addition to the unfortunate leopard, at least nine animals were reportedly shot and killed, presumably for sport or for other meals. Karnasuta was arrested, but sources say he has been bribing officials after being released on bail.

There is great concern that Karnasuta will use his money and government connections to buy his way out of facing justice. Many businessmen or wealthy politicians have done so in the past, from bribing the courts to threatening blackmail, at the expense of their victims. Furthermore, the leopard he reportedly killed and made into a meal was a legally protected and highly endangered species; Karnasuta’s alleged actions have set the species back further in efforts to repopulate.

An elderly couple was once sentenced to 15 years in jail for merely picking mushrooms in Thungyai Naresuan. If there is any justice in this world, Karnasuta must be tried under the same laws. This leopard and her companions’ deaths must not be in vain. Sign this petition to ensure justice is served for Karnasuta and his associates.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Attorney General Chutiwong,

Wealthy businessman Premchai Karnasuta and his associates allegedly killed nine creatures while camping in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, most notably an endangered leopard who was later made into soup. Karnasuta allegedly bribed officials once released from jail on bail, and there is a serious concern that he will bribe the courts as well in order to escape punishment.

You must not allow this. An elderly couple was once sentenced to 15 years of jail time for merely picking mushrooms in this same forest, and the laws should apply to everyone, not just the working class. Karnasuta must be brought to justice, regardless of his connections or wealth. This leopard’s death must not be in vain, and this man must serve as an example to anyone else who may try such a stunt in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tambako The Jaguar

Don’t Let Hunters Slaughter Grizzly Bears

Target: Keith Culver, President of the Game and Fish Commission, Wyoming

Goal: Do not allow the hunting of grizzly bears in Wyoming following the Trump administration’s removal of their endangered species protections.

Wyoming is pushing for grizzly bear hunts to begin this fall after Yellowstone grizzly bears were stripped of their endangered species protections. Although the bears are still protected within Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, they will be at risk of being killed when they roam outside those borders. As a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity stated, “Wyoming’s reckless hunt ignores the fact that grizzly bears remain endangered in Yellowstone and across the West. It’s tragic that these imperiled animals will be shot and killed so trophy hunters can stick heads on their walls.”

Unlike Wyoming, Montana—which also contains land in these national parks—has recommended that grizzly hunting not be allowed. The bears are still at risk as a species because of isolation from other grizzly populations, the loss of vital food sources, and deaths caused by humans via hunting and other activities. Yellowstone’s bears in particular are so isolated that the government must truck bears into the area regularly. They also face the collapse of food sources in their ecosystem, like white bark pine and cutthroat trout. These threats will only increase with droughts and climate change. Currently, grizzly bears occupy under 4% of the land that they once did in the United States. Sign below to protect the iconic grizzly bear and demand that Wyoming put a stop to grizzly hunts.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Culver,

Allowing grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming is dangerous and irresponsible. Despite their removal from the endangered species list, Yellowstone grizzlies still face serious threats. Isolation, the loss of their food sources, and human-caused deaths from hunting are major risks that could threaten the species with extinction once again. To allow these animals to be hunted when they roam off the lands of the national parks is unacceptable.

Montana has made moves against grizzly hunting this year, for good reason. Apart from conservation alone, Yellowstone grizzlies are famous—they provide a major tourist attraction for your state. As Andrea Santarsiere of the Center for Biological Diversity says, “Yellowstone’s amazing grizzly bears are loved by people around the world and they deserve a real shot at survival. It’s horrific that Wyoming doesn’t see the intrinsic value that these bears bring to the state’s landscape.” I urge you to follow Montana’s lead in protecting these iconic and innocent animals. Please do not allow the hunting of grizzly bears.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: I-Ting Chiang

Trump: Reinstate Trophy Ban on Elephant Parts

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Reinstate ban on elephant part imports that promote trophy hunting.

President Trump has repealed a ban on the import of legally hunted elephant remains, or “trophies,” from Zimbabwe and Zambia that was put in place while President Obama was in office. This is the second time this year that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has brought up the idea of easing trophy import restrictions. The first time, Trump criticized trophy hunting, calling it a “horror show.” This time, however, his actions speak louder than words.

In November 2017, when discussions on lifting the elephant part import ban first came up, public outrage ensued. Conservationists as well as celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Leonardo DiCaprio spoke out about opposing the lift of the ban. In response to the outrage, President Trump announced that he would “review all conservation facts” before making any decision. He went on to say that he would be “very hard-pressed” to lift the ban and that, in his opinion, big game hunting doesn’t help the “conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

Despite the remarks that President Trump made in November, an official FWS memo dated March 1, 2018 states that imported trophies will now be considered “on a case-by-case basis” as opposed to banning the trophies outright. The agency has rationalized the decision by assuming that big game hunters will assist in conservation efforts in an attempt to be able to continue their cruel leisure activity. Conservationist groups like the Humane Society and Save the Elephants have stated continuously that trophy hunting is never beneficial for the animals being hunted and is especially worrisome for the elephant populations in the countries that the ban was protecting: Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sign this petition to urge President Trump to reinstate the ban on all elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

In January of 2018, Piers Morgan interviewed you. You stated that you “[didn’t] want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this [country].” You have also referred to big game hunting as a “horror show.” These public remarks contradict the actions taken by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under your command to lift the Obama-era ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Big game hunting needs to be stopped not only in order to save animals that are endangered or part of a declining population, but also because the practice itself is cruel towards other living things. I urge you to stop considering any big game hunting appropriate, even on a case-by-case basis, and reinstate the ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Charles-J-Sharp

Don’t Force Animal Control to Slaughter Wildlife

Target: Cameron F. Clark, Director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Goal: Do not require animal control officers to euthanize healthy ‘nuisance’ animals removed from properties.

Animal removal specialists may soon be required to euthanize any animals they take from properties if a new rule change occurs in the state of Indiana. According to some pest control experts, the change could result in the wholesale slaughter of raccoons, opossums, coyotes and other animals, along with the possibility that domestic animals such as chickens could be targeted as well. Demand that this inhumane proposal be stopped in its tracks before it has the chance to potentially endanger many innocent lives.

Currently, healthy animals removed by state animal control officers and licensed specialists are released in designated areas. Changing the rule to require that all captured animals be killed, regardless of their health or temperament, will likely result in thousands of animals being needlessly slaughtered each year. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has stated that the population of raccoons, coyotes and other species must be controlled to prevent the spread of disease, but there is no scientific evidence to back up their claims.

This rule change is reckless and harmful not just to native wildlife but to all animals in Indiana as a whole. Sign below and demand that animal control officers be allowed to conduct their jobs humanely.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Clark,

Currently, animal control officers and pest removal specialists are permitted to humanely release healthy wildlife removed from properties in specially designated areas. Your department’s proposal to change this rule and instead require that all captured animals be killed is appalling. Not only will it likely result in the slaughter of thousands of native creatures each year, it may also put livestock and pets at risk.

There is no scientific evidence that killing so-called ‘nuisance’ animals will control their populations or lower the incidence of disease. That is why we urge you to not to enforce this unconscionable rule that will endanger all animals living in Indiana.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Darkone

Stop Killing of Jaguars for Construction

Target: Xi Jinping, President of China

Goal: Stop China’s use of endangered jaguars’ body parts for their construction projects.

The South American jaguar population is on a rapid decline, and Chinese construction projects have just been uncovered as the main reason. Endangered animal parts such as bones, fangs, and skins have been in high demand in China due to their alleged medicinal properties, particularly the organs of the jaguar and other big cats. Over 100 jaguars have been killed in less than a year to provide these parts.

We cannot let this continue. Not only is the trade and use of animal body parts unethical and technically illegal, the loss of any species is detrimental to the ecosystem. Jaguars are beautiful and graceful animals who have already been facing endangerment for years, and now they could disappear completely thanks to these projects. Worse, South America is enabling the loss of this species via an illegal trade route to China, providing them with the parts they claim to need.

In order to stop the illegal trade of jaguar body parts and save the species, we must attack the root of the problem. Sign this petition to demand China stop their purchase of jaguar parts and revise their construction plans to be more ethical and environmentally friendly.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Xi,

Construction projects in China are the root of the near-extinction of South America’s jaguar population. Construction workers are purchasing the skin, bones, and fangs of jaguars through an illegal trade route, claiming the need for the parts’ medicinal properties. This is both unethical and dangerous, as the loss of the species will damage South America’s ecosystem.

You must call for a ban on the purchase of jaguar parts immediately. Jaguars deserve better than to be killed and chopped up for parts, especially parts whose medicinal properties may very well just be a myth. Furthermore, these projects must be revised to comply with environmental protection standards overall. Animals should not have to die for progress and development.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: cmart29

Stop Cruel Plan to Slaughter Pigs Faster

Target: Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Goal: Stop proposal that would lead to more painful deaths for slaughtered pigs.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System would remove speed limits at pig slaughterhouses. This means slaughterhouses can increase production even more, totaling up to 1,300 pigs or more per hour, an increase from the average 1,100 every hour today. This is problematic for animal and workers’ welfare.

Workers might resort to excess force using electric prods when moving animals down the line. Furthermore, pigs might not be stunned efficiently, meaning they could become conscious during the killing process. Workers might handle the animals more roughly because they are being pressured to work more in order to kill more pigs in a day. This proposal mirrors the National Chicken Council’s petition to speed up poultry slaughter, which was rejected by the USDA.

Slaughtering pigs is already an inhumane act, and this new proposal to remove speed slaughter limits would impose even harsher conditions for animals. Sign the petition below to urge the USDA to stop the proposal and consider animal welfare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ramaswamy,

As the Director of the National Institude of Food and Agriculture, you have a responsibility to help solve challenges regarding food and agriculture. Recently, the USDA announced a New Swine Slaughter Inspection System, which would remove the speed limit of killing pigs in slaughterhouses. This would mean an increase from 1,100 pigs to 1,300 pigs per hour. This might also mean pigs are not stunned properly, resulting in pigs gaining consciousness during slaughter. Workers might feel the need to use excessive force through electric prods and rough handling to speed up slaughter and meet daily goals.

There is no need for a greater production from slaughterhouses. Already, they produce over 120 million pigs per year to feed the meat industry. We should be taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint through less meat consumption and looking into plant-based alternatives. Faster slaughter speeds will not only overwork slaughterhouse employees, they will jeopardize animal welfare. USDA has already rejected the National Chicken Council’s proposal to speed up poultry slaughter, and I hope USDA does the same for pigs. It would be hypocritical and unjust for you to pass a proposal similar to one that was rejected. I hope that you speak out against this new proposal and help protect animal welfare.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PxHere