FedEx: Stop Shipping Shark Fins!! Today, over 140 species of sharks are endangered, threatened, or near threatened by extinction. On top of this, an estimated 73 million sharks are killed per year for their fins, to be used in delicacies like shark fin soup. Last week, in response to this growing trade, two large international shipping companies — UPS and DHL — publicly declared they will not ship shark fins going forward. This is a major victory in the protection of these animals, and now the pressure is on FedEx to join them. You can help us by also telling FedEx it has a role to play in conserving shark species, and that it must stop its shipping of shark fins around the world. This is long overdue, and the brutal practice of shark finning must end!
Help protect the imperiled Archipelago wolf! The population of Archipelago wolves found on Prince of Wales Island, a remote island in southeast Alaska, has plummeted in recent years due to unsustainable old-growth logging and hunting. Recent studies have documented a 60 percent decline in Archipelago wolf numbers between 2013 and 2014. Despite this population crash, the federal government plans to allow subsistence hunting – a decision that may push the population to the edge of extinction. The subsistence hunting season for Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales Island will open on September 1st unless the Federal Subsistence Board cancels the hunt. Take action – Demand that hunting of these unique and imperiled wolves be halted.
Can DNA Help Combat Illegal Parrot Trade? A new article published in Science shines much needed light on the growing illegal trade of South American parrots. Parrots top the list of threatened species that are victims of wildlife trafficking because of high demand for them in pet stores. Of the 415 species of parrots in the world, 127 are listed as vulnerable, endangered or worse by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In Mexico, all but one of the 22 species of parrots and macaws are classified as either endangered, threatened or under special protection. In response, scientists have developed databases of wild parrot DNA that they’re comparing with the DNA of confiscated eggs and smuggled birds to determine if these are indeed cases of illegal wildlife smuggling. Using DNA tests quickly after smuggled birds are confiscated is a critical step in developing stronger criminal records against traffickers. But while this is an important step, it won’t stop the illegal parrot trade from occurring. Defenders’ Mexico Program Director, Juan Carlos Cantú, concludes the article perfectly when saying that while DNA matching may help wildlife officials do their jobs better, it doesn’t stop the problem: “To do that, he says, you have to stem the demand. The best way to help? Cantú says it’s simple: ‘Don’t buy parrots.’”
California Wolves Are Getting The Warm Welcome They Deserve: We updated you last week on the wonderful news that California is now home to a new resident wolf pack. And, what’s even better? Their return is receiving a warm welcome by residents and by media outlets alike. We were thrilled to read the LA Times excellent editorial which ran earlier this week and touted wolves’ return as a huge conservation milestone. We know from our latest polling that 69% of residents support restoring wolves in the state and we’re building on this opportunity to forge new partnerships to help people and wolves co-exist in their new California home!
Say “No” to Congress’ War on Wildlife: Help Protect the Endangered Species Act! As one of our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act has prevented the extinction of almost 99 percent of all species under its protection. Yet, more than 80 bills, riders and amendments weakening the Act have already been proposed by this Congress. And, no less than 16 of these anti-ESA measures were adopted as riders or amendments to the FY16 House and Senate bills funding the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies. These measures attempt to block or remove protections for individual species and undermine key sections of the ESA – like making it significantly more difficult for citizens to bring government agencies to court for failing to follow the law. Help us by contacting your Representative and telling them to oppose the record number of anti-ESA proposals in Congress!