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

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

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

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

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

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

End the Sale of Endangered Species in Grocery Stores

Target: Fu Zhenghua, Minister of Justice, China

Goal: Preserve and protect endangered species by outlawing their sale in grocery stores.

Grocery stores in China are selling critically endangered species, including giant salamanders, sturgeons, and alligators. Sign the petition to demand the government of China outlaw the sale of endangered species in grocery stores.

While selling endangered species is regulated (businesses require a special permit), it is not altogether forbidden and it is quite easy for businesses to ignore getting a permit. One grocery store was allegedly selling endangered Chinese alligators as recently as last month without a permit.

Sign the petition to demand China outlaw the sale of endangered species. Permits and regulations are not enough. Endangered animals should not be for sale.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Zhenghua,

Just last month, a grocery store in your nation was caught selling endangered species like alligators and salamanders without a permit. This event shows the flaws in your permitting system. Endangered animals should not be for sale in “some cases.” They should not be for sale at all.

I demand you outlaw the sale of endangered species. They should not be for sale in the aisles of a grocery store. They should be preserved and protected at all costs.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: William Warby

Save Imprisoned Wallabies From Starvation and Death

Target: Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland, Australia

Goal: Remove wallabies from an enclosure where they endure starvation and deadly injuries.

Wallabies are being imprisoned and starved in Australia. At the same time, officials responsible for these dire circumstances are blocking efforts to remedy the crisis. Worse yet, many of the desperate animals have died from injuries they suffered in their attempts to escape their man-made prisons.

Ground zero for this crisis is the Centenary Trinity Beach Bulldogs AFL Club Park, an area undergoing extensive development and maintenance projects. To keep the region’s wallabies from interfering with these projects, a regional council enclosed the native animals within fencing, essentially cutting off their means of escaping a small area. Compounding this problem, the fencing has stayed in place for close to a year. The wallabies have begun hurling themselves against the unforgiving fencing, incurring serious injury and—in the most tragic cases—death. While advocates strongly believe these desperate actions are driven by starvation and habitat loss, dismissive officials claim the wallabies are merely reacting to agitation from passersby.

This tragedy could have been prevented by relocating the wallabies to a safer location before construction projects began. Even now, those responsible refuse to acknowledge their deadly errors. Efforts by advocates to relocate the wallabies have been consistently blocked.

Sign this petition to demand accountability and urge immediate action in a year-long act of state-sponsored animal cruelty.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Premier Palaszczuk,

A critical and ongoing crisis with legal repercussions is taking place in the Cairns region. Social media videos detailing some of your region’s natural living wonders, wallabies, dying in a brutal manner have sparked widespread condemnation and outrage. These animals are currently trapped within the Centenary Trinity Beach Bulldogs AFL Club Park; if the situation is not remedied immediately, more will succumb to starvation or desperate self-mutilation.

A fence installed by the Cairns Regional Council is keeping these animals as essential prisoners without access to their natural food or habitat. The wallabies’ bloody attacks on this makeshift prison are likely a last-ditch attempt at escape and at continued life. Regional officials have curtailed efforts to relocate these under-siege animals, and in fact they have absconded responsibility for relocation onto the state government.

A lawsuit is in process, but by the time complex legal proceedings are untangled, it may be too late for these awe-inspiring creatures. Please make every effort to aid animals that are such testaments to Australia’s natural beauty.

Sincerely,

[[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: JJ Harrison