Save Hippos From Extinction Due to Illegal Poaching

Target: Martha Williams, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect hippos under the Endangered Species Act to curb importation of hippo byproducts.

Hippos are considered a keystone species, and contribute heavily to the ecosystems of which they are a part. In the lakes and rivers of Africa, hippo waste provides nutrients to aquatic environments, helping to feed the fish and other animals that live alongside them.

Unfortunately, hippo populations have been on a significant decline in recent years. Over the past 10 years, populations have decreased by about 7-20%, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that a mere 115,000- 130,000 hippos remain in the wild. This decline is largely due to loss of habitat and grazing territories and, perhaps more importantly, illegal poaching.

Currently labeled as a “vulnerable” species, these animals aren’t afforded the same protection as those listed under the Endangered Species Act. As one of the main importers of hippo trophy products– such as ivory and skins– the U.S. has the ability to help save this species from extinction. By listing these hippos as endangered, rather than just vulnerable or threatened, it would prevent the importation of hippo goods, making it illegal to participate in this illicit trophy trade.

We must step in and protect hippos before it is too late– the longer we wait, the more this amazing species will decline, perhaps beyond the point of saving. Sign this petition to encourage better protection for hippos by listing them under the Endangered Species Act.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Williams,

Hippos are an extremely important asset to aquatic ecosystems throughout Africa, as they provide the rivers and lakes with silicon nutrients otherwise largely unavailable. However, hippo populations have been exponentially declining in recent times, due to extreme habitat loss and illegal poaching. As hippos are currently only listed as “vulnerable,” they do not receive the same protections as they would under the Endangered Species Act.

The United States is one of the main importers of hippo skins and ivory and, as a result, has the power to majorly influence the destruction of this species. If we make it illegal to import these products, we can also help save this species from the brink of extinction. The longer we wait, the lesser the chance of hippo populations recovering.

Entire ecosystems are at risk. We are asking you, Ms. Williams, to please help preserve this amazing species and to list them under the Endangered Species Act.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bernard DUPONT


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