Endangered Black Rhinos Dead at New Sanctuary Home Deserve Justice

Target: Najib Balala, Minister of Kenya Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife

Goal: Hold individuals and organizations responsible for black rhino deaths.

Kenya accounts for more than one-tenth of the critically endangered black rhino population worldwide. In the past month, however, nine of these national treasures were lost in a state-sponsored conservation effort that went horribly wrong. The number lost in just one endeavor eclipses the total number of endangered rhinos killed in similar efforts within the previous twelve years.

The nine fallen rhinos were part of a group of 11 that were being taken to Tsavo East National Park by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Once they reached their new home, eight of the rhinos fell ill and died, with a ninth passing away a short time later. Authorities have theorized the causes of death to range from salt poisoning to heatstroke, but the investigation is ongoing.

This tragedy follows trying times for the beleaguered rhino species. Poachers allegedly murdered three black rhinos a few short months ago in Kenya; the heartless actions of human hunters have already driven the total population of black rhinos down to a little over 5,000. And earlier this year, the world lost its only remaining male northern white rhino, Sudan, to illness.

Help ensure the black rhino does not meet the same bleak fate. Demand Kenyan leaders find justice for the latest casualties and, moreover, do everything within their power to protect a vulnerable species that calls Kenya home.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Balala,

In the wild, black rhinos face no imminent threats. As a species, these magnificent animals should be thriving. Yet as their numbers have dwindled into the thousands; they stand at the top of the endangered species list: a testament to man’s continued greed and carelessness.

Since Africa remains the only continent in the world where these animals still roam freely, and since  Kenya remains their most prominent home, you have a special gift and an even more special responsibility. Recently, nine black rhinos lost their lives in circumstances that likely could have been avoided with proper care. Please take the investigation into these senseless deaths seriously, and hold those who may be responsible fully accountable.

Most importantly, prioritize a full scope of protections for endangered black rhinos and punish those who would callously steal their lives. Take action before these natural wonders, potentially like the white rhino, are lost forever to history.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gerry Zambonin

Save Our Waters From Phosphate Pollution

Target: The Right Honourable Michael Gove, United Kingdom DEFRA Secretary

Goal: Phase out the use of toxic phosphate fertilizers that are causing water pollution.

Phosphate-based plant fertilizers are contaminating the planet’s water supply, as well as boosting the growth of dangerous weeds such as stinging nettle. The overuse of these fertilizers is also partly responsible for the peril our oceans currently face, as rising phosphorus in the water is a cause of dangerous algae blooms that rob sea life and plants of precious oxygen. The weeds boosted by the chemicals grow rapidly as well, choking the life and stealing nutrients from more deserving plants. But overall, phosphate fertilizers are currently the most dangerous to our water supply, and could do severe harm to humans and animals who use and drink this water.

Phosphate fertilizers were once the most trusted in the growing of crops and plants, but their time is coming to a close. There are more ecologically friendly fertilizers available in this day and age. Sign this petition to demand the phasing out of phosphate fertilizers worldwide.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Gove,

The use of phosphate fertilizers is becoming dangerous to the environment, particularly the planet’s water supply. Residue from these fertilizers is swept through the streams and the rivers, where it aids the growth of weeds that choke the life from more deserving plants. It is responsible for the algae blooms that rob sea life and plants of precious oxygen. It could do serious harm to humans and animals.

Phosphates are a dwindling resource, and there is no reason to keep them in use. While once the most easily accessible and relied-upon resource for farmers and gardeners, their days are coming to an end with the advent of more ecologically friendly fertilizers. You must call for an official phasing out of phosphates as soon as possible, to keep the water cleaner and to discourage the growth of dangerous weeds and algae blooms. The future of this planet depends on it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gary Eason

Stop Serving Shark Fin Soup at Restaurants and End the Slaughter of Endangered Sharks

Target: Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Protect the ocean’s sharks by banning the sale of shark fin soup in restaurants across the U.K.

Days after the world celebrated Shark Awareness Day, conservationists in the United Kingdom are hoping to also draw awareness to the fact that many restaurants across Great Britain continue to sell shark fin soup, which is considered to be a medicinal delicacy in several Asian cultures. Shark finning is a cruel practice that results in the unnecessary deaths of millions of sharks annually, and any purported health benefits of the soup have never been backed up by science.

The global impact of the shark finning trade is enormous, with marine life conservation group Bite-Back estimating that over 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins alone. This amounts to 200,000 sharks dying each day, or two every second. The shark finning practice is cruel in of itself, involving fishermen hacking the fins off of still-living sharks and tossing their bodies overboard, where they inevitably bleed to death.

This wasteful and barbaric practice is putting shark species at risk, which is harmful to ocean ecosystems as whole. If these apex predators become extinct, the entire marine food chain could collapse. Sign this petition to urge the United Kingdom to ban the sale of shark fin soup before it is too late.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

Sharks worldwide are in grave danger due to the sale of shark fin soup, which is seen as a delicacy in certain Asian cultures. While some people claim the soup has medicinal properties, any purported health benefits have never been backed by scientific research. With over 70 million sharks dying annually to fuel the demand, we must act immediately to ban the sale of this soup, which is still sold in high-end restaurants across the U.K.

Large species of sharks that dwell in the open ocean, including hammerheads and tiger sharks, are especially imperiled by this wasteful practice. Over the past 50 years, the populations of these sharks have dropped by as much as 90 percent. Unless the sale of shark fin soup is brought to an end, it is very likely these species will go extinct. That is why we, the undersigned, demand that you call for a nationwide ban on shark fin soup across the United Kingdom.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Cloneofsnake

Demand Justice for Crocodiles Killed by Angry Mob

Target: Basar Manullang, Head of the Natural Resources and Conservation Agency, West Papua, Indonesia

Goal: Punish those responsible for slaughtering crocodiles in a wildlife sanctuary in retaliation for a villager’s death.

Photos showing the bloody aftermath of the ruthless massacre of nearly three hundred crocodiles in Indonesia have shocked the world, all while Indonesian officials claim they have been unable to intervene or press charges. This photo evidence should be used to bring justice for these protected reptiles.

The rampant slaughter reportedly began shortly after a man from West Papua identified as Sugito had wandered into the sanctuary and was attacked and killed by one of the resident crocodiles. This incident, caused by what appears to have been one individual’s reckless actions, allegedly inspired a mob of angry villagers to storm the sanctuary after his funeral, killing every crocodile in sight using everything from shovels and clubs to hand knives.

This sanctuary was established to breed and house protected saltwater crocodiles and New Guinea crocodiles, and the loss of so many of these animals is a major setback to the conservation of both species. Sign this petition to demand that Indonesian officials find and prosecute those who are responsible for having participated in this bloody mob.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Manullang,

A mob in West Papua armed with knives, hammers and other makeshift weapons is believed to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of protected crocodiles, as evidenced by the many photographs that have emerged in the aftermath showing the piled corpses of these reptiles. While it is believed that one of these crocodiles may have killed a local man, the slaughter of nearly three hundred protected crocodiles is a senseless act of violence that must not go unpunished. We urge you to use this photographic evidence to find and prosecute those who are believed to be responsible for this massacre.

The man, known only as Sugito, was attacked by one of the crocodiles after he had wandered into the sanctuary, allegedly looking for animal feed. While his death is a tragedy, it highlights the need for respect for these large and powerful reptiles, and it does not justify the rampant killing of these protected animals. Please uphold the existing laws protecting these vulnerable creatures and find those responsible so they may be brought to justice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Alex Borland

Ireland: Lead the Way in Divesting From Fossil Fuels

Target: Denis O’Donovan, Chair of Seanad, Ireland’s Upper Chamber of Parliament

Goal: Ensure that Ireland paves the way to protecting the environment with the use of renewable energy by requiring the government to sell its stakes in fossil fuels.

Ireland is on track to become the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels, if a bill passes the upper chamber of Parliament. The bill, which has recently passed the lower chamber of Parliament, would require the Irish government to sell its stakes in coal, peat, oil, and gas “as soon as practicable.” According to estimates by the aid organization Trócaire, this will get rid of over $370 million in holdings, setting Ireland on course to combat climate change and meet the conditions of the Paris Agreement.

By divesting itself of interests in fossil fuels, Ireland can focus instead on more sustainable energy sources without any financial conflicts. As Thomas Pringle, the lawmaker behind the bill, states, “Let us show the Irish public and the international community that we are ready to think and act beyond narrow short-term and vested interests, and will take the opportunities that lie ahead of us to bring in real change.” Sign below to demand the passage of this landmark bill that will make Ireland a leader in the protection of our planet.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Cathaoirleach O’Donovan,

Ireland is on course to become the first country in the world to divest entirely from fossil fuels, and it is critical that this be seen through. This would be a landmark victory for preserving the environment and combatting climate change. It is vital that this bill be passed as soon as possible.

Although Ireland has not been known for championing renewable energy in the past, this move marks a significant change that will benefit not only Ireland’s reputation but also—and even more importantly—other countries in the world who suffer most from the effects of climate change. As lawmaker Thomas Pringle says, “We must be very clear; people are dying today as a direct result of climate change through the increasingly frequent and intense disasters, through increased hunger, increased water scarcity, and significantly more will die or be forced into displacement if there is not a radical change in direction.” I urge you to ensure the passage of this bill into law and solidify Ireland’s divestment from all fossil fuels.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gerry Machen

Do Not Allow Rare Amur Leopards to Go Extinct

Target: Sergey Donskoy, Russian Minister of National Resources and Environmental Protection

Goal: Establish more protected habitat for Amur leopards and devote more resources to conservation efforts.

Fewer than 100 endangered Amur leopards remain in the Russian wild. Scientists studying wild Amur leopards living in Russia and China have concluded that only 84 of the rare cats remain in their natural habitat. The survival of these critically endangered felines hinges on there being enough wild space for them to hunt and roam.

Conducting research on these elusive big cats is notoriously difficult, which is why scientists did not have a clear picture of just how many Amur leopards remained in the wild until now. The new detailed surveys combine data based on discovered tracks in the snow and photographs taken by motion detection cameras in both Russia and China. Many of the cats were shown to frequently cross the border on either side, but there were overall more Amur leopards living in Chinese territory.

While it is vitally important that both nations work to protect this critically endangered species, this study highlights the need for Russia in particular to focus on saving the remaining cats within its borders. With so few Amur leopards left in the wild, the survival of each individual is needed to ensure sufficient genetic diversity. Sign this petition to urge Russian officials to increase available habitat for these big cats and to devote more efforts to their conservation.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Donskoy,

Recent scientific studies have given us a better picture of how many critically endangered Amur leopards remain in the wild, and the news is not good for those cats living in Russia. While many of the leopards have been shown to cross regularly between China and Russia, those living exclusively in Russia have less available habitat to roam in, and therefore are in greater danger of extinction. We ask that you conserve more land for these leopards, and work with Chinese officials to ensure their long-term survival.

With only 84 wild leopards counted in the recent study, each individual remaining represents a necessary link for ensuring genetic diversity for this subspecies. The survival of these cats depends upon having adequate wild space in which to hunt and thrive. That is why we, the undersigned, are urging you to save this crucial habitat and to devote more resources to leopard conservation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Winters

Justice for Slaughtered, Endangered Blue Whale

Target: Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister of Iceland’s Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources

Goal: Investigate and punish those responsible for the alleged killing of an endangered blue whale.

One of the world’s rarest and most beautiful marine animals was allegedly slaughtered by a government-approved expedition. Earlier this week, members of Iceland’s Hvalur hf whaling company reportedly harpooned and killed a blue whale, a critically endangered species that has been federally protected for decades. If the kill is confirmed, this would mark the first known human-driven slaughter of a blue whale in 40 years.

Although whaling is permitted and has a long tradition in Iceland, the government outlawed the killing of blue whales after previously unchecked executions had driven the species’ numbers to dangerously low levels. A crew leader has defended the alleged kill, claiming—despite the assertion of whale experts—that the animal was not a blue whale but rather a type of whale that does not enjoy government protections. The crew member reportedly concedes that if his crew did kill a blue whale, it was only an accident.

This half-hearted defense and dismissive apology will not bring back an animal that stands as a needed lifeline for a species in crisis. Sign this petition to demand accountability for a careless action that puts a world wonder at further risk.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Guðbrandsson,

In released pictures, they can allegedly be seen assessing their kill. One even reportedly stands atop the carcass for a photo op. Yet these individuals who ply their trade in the whaling industry claim ignorance in their potential slaughter of one of the world’s most imminently endangered species.

The actions of the the Hvalur hf whaling company were reckless at best and deliberately malicious at worst. Since the 1970s, the Icelandic government has recognized its special responsibility to the blue whale: a magnificent creature nearly driven to extinction by thoughtless human activity. Your government licensed the whaling company under fire, and as such you have the responsibility to investigate and ensure that if this group did indeed slaughter the first blue whale in over four decades, they receive the proper punishment.

Moreover, you have a responsibility to the vulnerable torchbearers of this species by reasserting in the strongest terms that their outrageous slaughter will not be condoned or forgotten. We demand immediate action.

Sincerely.

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: D. Ramey Logan

Stop Illegal Loggers From Destroying Ancient Woodlands

Target: Marcian Bleahu, Minister of Environment for Romania

Goal: Address issue of rampant deforestation in Romania and ensure that illegal loggers are brought to justice.

The virgin forests of Romania are in danger of being destroyed. These forests are one of the last places in Europe where one may encounter wild lynx, bears or wolves in a landscape virtually unchanged since the last glacial period. Yet these primeval forests are rapidly disappearing, at the rate of over 62,000 hectares a year, as illegal loggers carve up the protected woodlands for their valuable old-growth timber.

While Romania’s illegal logging issues have been ongoing for decades, environmental groups are reporting that the problem has only worsened in the past few years. Two hundred years ago, this Eastern European nation was richly forested with over 8.5 million hectares of woodland, accounting for over 36 percent of its territory. Now barely one quarter of Romania remains forested, and that number continues to dwindle at a frightening rate despite the fact that much of this wilderness is now protected under law.

The Romanian government must address this problem by forbidding the sale of government-owned woodlands to private citizens and by arresting and punishing loggers found guilty of cutting down trees in protected areas. This unique ecosystem must be saved before these remaining primeval forests and their wild inhabitants disappear forever. Sign the petition below to take a stand and demand that all illegal logging be brought to an immediate end.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Bleahu,

Romania is losing over 62,000 hectares of pristine woodland each year, even in such protected areas as Semenic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains some of Europe’s last few primeval beech forest habitats. Illegal logging here and at other protected sites is threatening these forests and the many wild species that call them home. It is absolutely crucial that you fully investigate these illicit logging incidents and punish those found responsible.

For too many years, the Romanian government has turned a blind eye to illegal logging or has attempted to cover it up by selling government-owned woodlands to private citizens and companies. We demand that you do what you can to protect the remaining wilderness areas in your country and put an end to all illegal activities threatening them.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Crustmania

Tighten Ivory Ban in the UK

Target: The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Crack down further on ivory trade that is decimating wild elephants.

Illegal ivory has been discovered on sale in the United Kingdom, despite an official ban on the sale of ivory introduced fairly recently. Radiocarbon dating tests have shown that at least one fifth of the ivory came from animals killed after the first efforts made to restrict the trade and stop the poaching of elephants and rhinos, in 1989.

These sales are counterproductive and unethical. For years, conservationists and animal welfare groups have been working their hardest to stop the ivory trade for good in order to protect the remaining elephant and rhino populations. The ban introduced in the UK was a great step forward, but those who have found ways to sneak past the radar and break this law are taking our efforts a step backward. Despite our best efforts, people are still finding ways to continue the trade, thus encouraging the slaughter of more elephants and rhinos.

The UK is introducing a new bill to further crack down on the sale of ivory, to hopefully ensure that even under-the-table businesses and sellers will be prevented from encouraging this barbaric trade. We must support this effort and ensure that the government does as well. Sign this petition to demand that the UK government throws all of their support behind this new bill.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

Despite a law introduced fairly recently to stop the sale of ivory, objects containing the substance have been discovered on sale in the United Kingdom. The ivory used is confirmed to have come from animals killed after the first restrictions were put in place, and is proof that many are still breaking the law for the sake of profit.

You must throw all of your support behind the bill planned to further crack down on ivory sales. The sale of these items directly contradicts the efforts of conservationists and animal welfare groups to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction due to excessive poaching, and encourages the illegal market to continue its operation. Tighter laws will likely include keeping a sharper eye out for illegal sales, ensuring they are shut down before they can take place. Please support this new bill and help it become a law, for the sake of the elephants and rhinos that still remain.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rob Young

Don’t Murder Endangered Whales and Dolphins with Mining Project

Target: Vicky Robertson, Chief Executive and Secretary for the Environment, New Zealand Ministry for the Environment

Goal: Revoke permit that would destroy the habitats of endangered dolphins and whales with seabed mining.

A permit has been granted that will allow a company to mine in the seabed of a protected sea mammal habitat. Sign the petition to demand that the government of New Zealand revoke this damaging and dangerous permit immediately.

Endangered whales and dolphins, hunted near extinction for far too long, are now being hunted down in protected waters. However, the weapon is not a spear. It is Ironsands Offshore Mining Limited, which can now legally mine in the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary.

The little shelter endangered sea mammals have will now be destroyed. Sign the petition to demand the government of New Zealand revoke this permit and protect the nation’s endangered species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Robertson,

A dangerous and deeply damaging permit has just been granted that will condemn endangered sea animals to death. Ironsands Offshore Mining Limited has been given permission to destroy whales’ and dolphins’ protected habitat for mining.

This action is troubling and absurd. Sanctuary is meant to save these animals, but your government’s actions now condemn them to death. All of the hard work of conservationists will be erased forever. I demand you revoke this permit.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay