Land and Wildlife Issues

pet dogs and even a childInitiatives 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:
Halt Trump from weakening legal clean water protections for rivers, streams and wetlands
Help ban M-44 cyanide bombs used to poison predators
Don’t support roadside zoos, animal circuses or the illegal wildlife pet trade

Halt Trump from weakening legal clean water protections for rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands
ACT BY: February 10, 2019
The Trump administration proposed in December 2018 to reduce environmental protections under the Clean Water Act, allowing industry to freely dump toxic waste into streams across the United States and allow for the destruction of millions of acres of wetlands that are critical habitat for endangered wildlife. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 and establishes a basic structure for regulating the emissions of various pollutants into U.S. waterways and regulates quality standards for rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and other water bodies. It is enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Trump is proposing, with his Executive Order 13778, that the Clean Water Act’s protections be limited to water bodies that are “physically and meaningfully connected” to larger navigable water bodies. This would essentially eliminate the Clean Water Act’s protections for the arid Western United States, from West Texas to Southern California, across most of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. This new plan would cut Clean Water Act protections for water bodies across more than 3,000 watersheds in the Western U.S. It could accelerate the extinction of more than 75 endangered species from steelhead trout to California tiger salamanders.

Email EPA Director Andrew Wheeler at and demand that his agency maintain the integrity of the Clean Water Act as its creators intended: To keep waters safe and clean across the entire country.

Here’s a sample letter:
Dear Director Wheeler,

I strongly urge you to ignore Trump’s request to weaken the Clean Water Act under Executive Order 13778.

This U.S. policy has helped vastly improve water quality across the United States over more than five decades. Weakening its protections would reverse the country’s progress on clean water. It could allow dangerous pollutants to destroy entire ecosystems, wiping out important animal species and putting human health at risk. It could also threaten the health of the U.S. economy, which benefits greatly from the U.S.’s clean water sources.

Please think about the health and safety of the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands, and all the animals and people who rely on them to survive.

[your name here]

Help ban M-44 cyanide bombs used to poison predators
ACT BY: March 1, 2019
M-44 “cyanide bombs” are used by the U.S. government agency USDA Wildlife Services to kill predator animals like coyotes and foxes in 14 states—Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado (only on private land), Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia, and West Virginia. But they have killed and injured many more species than the target predators, including pet dogs and even a child. Several wildlife conservation groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity have pushed for a nationwide ban on these lethal devices, but as the Federal government resists, they’re also pushing ahead on a state-level bans which can be easier to get implemented.

M-44 cyanide bombs look like metal sprinklers and are implanted into the ground. Coated with a meaty bait, they attract carnivorous and scavenger animals, and when touched or pulled they emit a cloud of toxic cyanide gas. Effects of this gas include internal bleeding, seizures, lung failure and death. The U.S. government uses these devices even though science has shown that killing predator animals does not make life safer for the livestock these predator-killing schemes are meant to protect. Read this detailed article in The Revelator to learn more about cyanide bombs and the danger they pose, or check out the film “Lethal ControlLethal Control.”

If you live in or near one of the 14 states where cyanide bombs are still currently used, write to or call your State Representative and demand a ban on these inhumane killing devices which endanger human and animal welfare. You can find their contact information here.

Below is a sample letter you can send or dictate to your Representative:

Dear Representative [their last name here],

I strongly urge you to implement a ban on M-44 “cyanide bombs” used by USDA Wildlife Services in our state.

M-44 cyanide bombs are indiscriminate killers that cannot be used safely. They put human, pet and wildlife lives at risk and can cause serious, lifelong injuries. This despite the best available science showing that killing predator animals does not reduce livestock deaths. Please set an example for other states where these dangerous devices are currently used by implementing a ban in your state. Doing so is simply the right thing to do.

Please think about the health and safety of our nation’s wildlife, and its people and their pets.

[your name here]

Don’t support roadside zoos, animal circuses or the illegal wildlife pet trade
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)