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

Protect Bear Cubs and Wolf Pups From Slaughter

Target: Ryan Zinke, United States Secretary of the Interior

Goal: Protect Alaska’s wolf pups and bear cubs from unwarranted slaughter.

Alaska’s bears and wolves will soon be in danger of needless slaughter. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plan to roll back protection laws for Alaskan bears and wolves is fast approaching, despite strong opposition from the state itself. The rollback of these Obama-era laws would allow cruel and unethical hunting practices such as baiting, killing hibernating bears, and laying traps for wolves during denning season. This would almost certainly spell the extinction of many different species of bear and wolf, who are already dying out due to unnecessary killings.

The legalization of these practices could lead to the extinction of many species of bear and wolf. Too many of these poor creatures have already been shot with “self-defense” as an excuse, while said creatures were quietly going about their own business and living their lives. Due to their history as predatory animals, bears and wolves have gained an unfair reputation used to justify these killings, and the last thing we need is for such cruelty to become fully legal.

We cannot allow this plan to succeed. Bears and wolves are living creatures that deserve better than to have their lives ended out of human paranoia or for sport. Sign this petition to denand Zinke call off his plan immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

Your plan to roll back protection laws for bears and wolves in Alaska is unethical and selfish. Too many of these creatures are ruthlessly killed by humans for sport, or shot while minding their own business with “self-defense” as an excuse. While bears and wolves may have a history as predatory animals, the majority of them would not harm humans unprovoked and are simply trying to live their lives. Additionally, many species of wolf and bear are nearly extinct despite laws set in place to protect them; rolling back these laws entirely would likely result in them disappearing forever.

The state of Alaska firmly opposes these plans to legalize hunting, trapping, baiting, and the killing of hibernating bears. You must respect the wishes of the population and keep protection laws for these animals firmly in place. Do not legalize the wholesale slaughter of innocent creatures for selfish reasons.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ronnie MacDonald

Eliminate Dangerous Anti-Wildlife Wording in Defense Bill

Target: Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Goal: Stop dangerous anti-wildlife bill from further endangering threatened species.

Threatened wildlife will be at further risk if a proposed bill passes. The House of Representatives’ version of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is an annually passed bill that sets the budget for the US Department of Defense, contains language that is detrimental to wildlife. Specifically, if the bill passes with the harmful provisions, the greater sage-grouse and the lesser prairie chicken will not be listed under the Environmental Services Association for the next 10 years, and protections for the endangered American burying beetle will be removed. Furthermore, the bill will enable the US Navy to operate without regard to marine life for a decade.

In recent weeks, this bill has passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it is currently under review. There is still time to make a difference. Please sign this petition to demand Speaker of the House Paul Ryan urge US senators and representatives to stop the harmful provisions of the bill from passing.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Speaker Ryan,

The House of Representatives’ version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains environmentally harmful language that must be removed. The bill would eliminate necessary protection for the endangered American burying beetle, the threatened sage-grouse and the lesser prairie chicken, and allow for the US Navy to operate unchecked without regard to marine life for a decade.

Please consider the detrimental effect these provisions in the bill would have on these species and on marine life. The purpose of the NDAA is to protect America, not to harm wildlife species and the environment. We ask that you uphold the true principles of the NDAA and remove the environmentally detrimental provisions in the House’s version of the NDAA.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: gary4now

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

Stop Purging Conservation and Wildlife Advocates from National Park Services

Target: Mary L. Kendall, Deputy Inspector General of the Department of the Interior

Goal: Investigate allegations of unfair employment practices against conservationists and climate change advocates.

“Throughout my career, I’ve never encountered anything like this, ever.” These words, uttered by a conservationist with a four-decades long record of service, echo the sentiments of many environmental advocates and ethical leaders who now serve under an administration hostile to those very values. To date, 16 individuals serving our nation’s federal lands in senior-level positions  received demotions or reassignments; they believe these actions are retaliation for conservation or climate change advocacy. Many more dismissals could follow.

The most high-profile and recent of these questionable maneuvers is the treatment of soon-to-be former Yellowstone Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. This summer, Superintendent Wenk was given a choice: accept a reassignment across the country or resign. Either way, officials wanted the man who has served forty-plus years in national park services out of Yellowstone by August. Wenk chose resignation, believing the reassignment for which he was provided no reasoning resulted from his opposition to a planned reduction of Yellowstone’s bison populations. Moreover, Wenk contends that his dismissal reflects Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s ambition of prioritizing industry and profit over conservation. The bison initiative is believed to be the result of extensive lobbying from a major livestock group in Zinke’s home base of Montana.

As the conflicts of interest continue in organizations like the Interior Department and the EPA, those who would protect our environment and its wildlife continue to be neutralized. Sign this petition to demand the Interior Department’s investigative branch restore the integrity of the guardians of America’s most beloved lands.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Kendall,

You have received at last count 16 complaints from long-serving Interior Department officials who believe they were the victims of “punitive action” by department leaders. You claimed that you could not take action on these allegations because those responsible did not explain their reasoning for reassignments.

This answer is not good enough. As an investigator, it is your job to ‘investigate’ and to find these answers. Our nation’s most cherished lands, including its first national park, Yellowstone, are on the line. These lands need protectors and advocates that will look out for their best interests, not the interests of the corporate bottom line. Yellowstone’s senior official charges that he was forced into resignation simply because he opposed a controversial policy involving some of the park’s most prominent wildlife. “It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the park service and places like Yellowstone, but that’s how these guys are,” Superintendent Dan Wenk recently said.

Is this how you are? Is the legacy you want to leave one of loyalty to the individuals you are supposed to keep in check, or loyalty to the oath you took when you joined the agency entrusted with protection of our federal lands and its wildlife? The choice is yours.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Yellowstone National Park

Success: Krill Fishing Companies to Back Antarctic Ocean Conservation

Target: Øyvind Eriksen, CEO of Aker ASA

Goal: Thank krill fishing company for supporting Antarctic conservation efforts.

Several krill fishing giants have agreed to halt their activities and support the creation of the world’s largest marine sanctuary. Among them is Aker ASA, a Norwegian company responsible for a large portion of the ocean’s krill shortage; several attempts have been made to convince them to stop their overfishing, including this one on ForceChange. The United Kingdom has also agreed to back this sanctuary, as well as Australia.

This decision is what ocean conservationists have been awaiting for months, after observing the decline in aquatic wildlife and seabirds who subsist on krill. Additionally, krill themselves are instrumental in reducing the carbon dioxide levels by feeding off of and excreting carbon-rich food on the surface of the waters. Not only will this much-needed sanctuary provide food and safety for the ocean’s wildlife, but it will play a small part in reducing the amount of toxic gases in the air.

The struggle of aquatic wildlife and seabirds will finally begin to end, thanks to the gradual increase in their food supply as well as the cleaner air provided by the krill’s feeding habits. Sign this petition to thank Aker ASA for their aid in creating this sanctuary.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Eriksen,

Thank you for joining several other krill fishing companies in supporting the creation of the Antarctica marine sanctuary. Thanks to your company’s agreement to halt krill fishing, even temporarily, aquatic mammals and seabirds will no longer suffer from a food shortage. Additionally, the krill’s own feeding habits will aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide in both the air and the water.

The ocean’s ecosystem is very delicate. Many species of aquatic mammals and seabirds are in danger due to various factors, with the loss of their food source being one of the worst struggles they have faced. Thanks to you and other krill fishing companies’ agreement to halt your actions, these creatures will have a chance to survive and repopulate. Your decision is a commendable one, and we are very grateful to you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: NOAA

Support Starbucks Ban on Plastic Straws

Target: Kevin Johnson, President and CEO of Starbucks

Goal: Support the initiative to eliminate plastic straws from Starbucks worldwide to save our environment from pollution.

Starbucks will replace its plastic straws with a recyclable and environmentally safe alternative, eliminating all plastic straws from its stores worldwide by 2020 in order to protect our earth and our oceans from plastic waste. This marks a major victory for conservation and paves the way for other companies to follow suit in a way that is sustainable and business-friendly. When the move takes full effect, Starbucks estimates that it will mean one billion fewer plastic straws each year.

The company’s alternative to plastic straws is a recyclable strawless lid that social media refers to as the “adult sippy cup.” Starbucks already uses it for certain cold drinks; it will soon be used for all iced beverages except the Frappuccino, which will be served with straws made from sustainable or compostable materials instead of plastic. As Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson stated, “For our partners and customers, this is a significant milestone to achieve our global aspiration of sustainable coffee, served to our customers in more sustainable ways.” Sign below to support this move and the positive example it sets for conservation and preserving our planet’s future.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear CEO Johnson,

The commitment Starbucks has made to sustainability, conservation, and the protection of the earth from plastic pollution for future generations is not only admirable, but also necessary. Plastic waste is extremely damaging to the environment, especially to the oceans and marine life, and single-use plastic straws are one of the biggest parts of the problem. Therefore, Starbucks’ initiative to eliminate as many as one billion straws a year by removing them from store locations worldwide by 2020 is a hugely important step.

This move to replace plastic straws with sustainable materials and recyclable lids shows responsibility, and that the company values the lives and concerns of its customers. Additionally, this plan illustrates a functional and business-friendly method of prioritizing conservation and sustainability. It therefore paves the way for other major companies to follow suit, increasing the positive global impact still further. Thank you for prioritizing the preservation of our environment. I support Starbucks in its plan to eliminate plastic straws.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: StockSnap