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Land and Wildlife Issues

Initiatives to exploit fossil fuels, minerals, water, forests and other resources, as well as the expansion of cities and other developments are major sources of habitat loss for wildlife. Without a safe place to live, wildlife species will go extinct. Also threatening many wildlife species’ chances for survival are hunting and harassment–people kill animals for food, recreation and economic purposes. And in some cases, animals are killed for no good reason at all.

If you care about land and wildlife issues, here are some things you can do:


Prevent the U.S. government from delisting the gray wolf, and push for their protection
Protect New York State’s pollinators
Don’t support roadside zoos, animal circuses or the illegal wildlife pet trade


Prevent the U.S. government from delisting the gray wolf, and push for their protection
ACT BY: July 15, 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now considering removing the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. It claims that the best available scientific information suggests that wolves no longer appear threatened or endangered. Delisting the gray wolf would strip away the protections that helped bring the species back from the brink after decades of hunting nearly exterminated the species completely from U.S. soil.

Even though gray wolf numbers have increased since the species gained endangered status throughout much of the lower 48 states in 1978, the species still occupies less than 10 percent of its historic range in the region! Gray wolves need continued protection throughout the U.S. in order to keep the species’ population healthy and viable. Healthy wolf populations help maintain healthy ecosystems and support tourism throughout the nation.

Independent analyses suggest that delisting the gray wolf does not actually adhere to the best available science, which shows that killing predator animals leads to an increase in attacks on livestock and interactions with humans. A delisting would essentially create an open season for wolves, further upset the U.S.’s ecological balance and reverse decades of conservation progress.

Send a public comment to the U.S. government today, and tell them that gray wolves belong on the endangered species list. The public comment period has been extended and ends July 15! So send your comment today!

Here’s a sample comment you could send (courtesy Project Coyote): “I am in opposition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. I urge you to reconsider this proposed rule and to instead develop a national wolf recovery plan for wolves that reflects their intrinsic value and the myriad ecological, aesthetic, and economic benefits the species provides to our communities and ecosystems.” You can personalize your comments with some of the following talking points (also suggested by Project Coyote):

●Continuing Endangered Species Act protections for wolves is necessary for the species to fully recover. Federal protections saved gray wolves from extinction following decades of persecution – and the species is still recovering, currently occupying only a fraction of their historic range.

●The proposed rule would transfer authority over wolves to state wildlife management agencies, which historically have shown little interest in preserving wolves. These state agencies have catered to special interest groups who seek to kill wolves for trophies or entertainment, or on the misguided belief that killing wolves protects livestock or increases deer and elk populations.

●Wolves are vital to healthy ecosystems. Benefits wolves provide include increasing biodiversity by keeping large herbivores such as deer from overgrazing habitats and maintaining the health of prey animals such as deer by culling the sick members from the heard, including animals suffering from Chronic Wasting Disease.

●The best available, peer-reviewed science demonstrates that killing wolves will not protect livestock or increase populations of game species like deer or elk. Wildlife management decisions should be based on ethics and sound science, not fear and misunderstandings.

●The vast majority of Americans are wildlife watchers who prefer to view wolves in their natural habitat – preserved and treated with respect. Allowing wolves to return to their historic range and thrive will provide far more benefits to our economy than allowing a tiny minority of the population to extirpate these iconic animals from our landscape.

Submit your comment online, here.


Protect New York State’s pollinators
ACT BY: July 31, 2019

New York State’s pollinators face major challenges to their survival. Scientists and professional beekeepers alike reveal that in only the past few years, populations of honeybees have reduced by at least 40% due to what has been termed “colony collapse syndrome.” There are many factors that contribute to the decline of pollinators, but the scientific consensus is now focused on the impact of a powerful class of insecticides that has risen to prominence in the past 15 years, known as neonicotinoids. These so-called ‘neonics’ kill leaf, fruit and root chewing agricultural pests, but are also extremely toxic to bees and other pollinators. Yet pollinators are an invaluable part of our ecosystems, not to mention New York crop production and contribute to NY’s annual $1.2 billion dollar annual fruit and vegetable harvest.

Please tell the New York State Legislature to pass S.5816/A.7639 a bill that will ban neonicotinoids in favor of safer alternatives!

It’s not just pollinators that need help: Dragonflies are also in trouble and their populations are decreasing as part of what some scientists are calling “the insect apocalypse” – a trending global die off of invertebrates that could lead to mass ecosystem collapse. One major killer of dragonflies on Long Island is methoprene, an insecticide which prevents mosquito larvae from maturing into adults. This insecticide is sprayed widely over Long Island’s 20,000 acres of wetlands to routinely kill mosquitoes, but also kills dragonflies and non-target crustaceans such as horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, lobster and shrimp. Research suggests that alternatives to methoprene that specifically target mosquitoes and black flies may be very effective without harming non-target species. Healthy dragonfly populations naturally kill mosquitoes, and ironically harmful methoprene-spraying programs are killing off dragonflies.

Please tell the New York State legislature to also pass A.6366/S.4314 a bill that would prohibit the use of Methoprene in the coastal wetlands of Long Island.

We need wild pollinators and dragonflies in New York! Thousands of other species live lives interconnected with these essential insects, and their loss would lead to a collapse of our natural ecosystems. Please take action today by sending a personalized message, below, to your New York State Senator. You can find your Senator’s contact information here

Here’s a sample personalized message to send to your Senator via email, or dictate by phone:

Subject: Please pass S.5816/A.7639 & A.6366/S.4314: Protect Pollinators, Defend Dragonflies

Dear Senator [your Senator’s name here],

New York State’s pollinators are in trouble. Field surveys and exhaustive accounts from professional beekeepers reveal that in only the past few years, populations of honeybees have reduced by at least 40% due to what has been termed “colony collapse syndrome.” While multiple factors contribute to the decline of pollinators, scientific consensus is now focused on the impact of a powerful class of insecticides that has risen to prominence in the past 15 years, known as neonicotinoids.

‘Neonics’ kill leaf, fruit and root chewing agricultural pests, but are also extremely toxic to bees and other pollinators. These pollinators are invaluable to New York crop production and contribute to NY’s annual $1.2 billion dollar annual fruit and vegetable harvest.

It is time for the New York State Legislature to pass S.5816/A.7639 which would place a 5-year ban on neonicotinoids in favor of safer alternatives.

Dragonflies are also in trouble and their populations are diminishing as part of what some scientists are calling “the insect apocalypse” – a trending global die off of invertebrates that could lead to mass ecosystem collapse. Methoprene, an insecticide which prevents mosquito larvae from maturing into adults, is sprayed widely over Long Island’s 20,000 acres of wetlands to routinely kill mosquitoes – but as an unintended consequence also kills dragonflies and non-target crustaceans such as horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, lobster and shrimp.

Promising research suggests that alternatives to methoprene may be more effective that specifically target mosquitoes and black flies, but do little harm to non-target species. Ultimately, healthy dragonfly populations may be our best line of defense against nuisance mosquitos – and harmful methoprene spraying programs are obliterating this potent mosquito- eating insect.

I’m asking you to fight to pass A.6366/S.4314 a bill that would prohibit the use of Methoprene in the coastal wetlands of Long Island.

Connecticut passed a ban on methoprene in 2011. New York must follow suit.

Wild pollinators and dragonflies are an incalculably integral part to NY’s ecosystems and facilitate the perpetual continuance of thousands of plant species and provide an intricate web of connection between all life. In May, 2019 a comprehensive UN report came to the dire conclusion that at the current rate of biodiversity loss, over 1 million plant and animal species risk extinction unless human activities drastically change course. New York cannot afford to lose our pollinators, much less the thousands of other species interconnected with these essential insects.

Thank you for your efforts to protect New York’s pollinators and dragonflies.

Sincerely, [Your name]

—- (sample letter courtesy: Sierra Club)

Don’t support roadside zoos, animal circuses or the illegal wildlife pet trade
ACT NOW
Wild animals belong in the wild. They do not belong in abusive roadside zoos or circuses as entertainment, or in homes as pets.

You can help wildlife. Here’s what to do:

  • Do not visit or support roadside, non-AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums)  or non-WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoos or aquariums. AZA accredited zoos are held to a higher standard of animal care, education efforts and conservation work.
  • Do not purchase “exotic” animals from pet stores. Many of these exotic animals (including fish and corals) are taken directly from the wild.
  • Support the movement of wild animals from unsuitable captive conditions into safe wildlife sanctuaries. The Safina Center stands by the work of The Whale Sanctuary Project, an organization founded by Safina Center Creative Affiliate Lori Marino that works to get captive cetaceans into humane seaside sanctuaries where they can live out their lives in more natural conditions.

(cover photo: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. Parula Warbler. ©Carl Safina)