Target: Virgil Moore, Director, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Goal: Prevent plans to kill half the pelican population in Idaho.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has drafted a ten-year plan to “manage” local American white pelicans that will involve killing off half of the population. The department claims that harassing and murdering large groups of the pelicans is a viable solution to a decline in native fish species, but a massacre of these birds in response to their natural dietary habits is not a responsible reconstruction of Idaho’s ecosystems.
The American white pelican is a species in need of great conservation efforts in all eight western states where it breeds, including Idaho. Pelican populations in the region are declining due to a lack of viable breeding colonies and, according to the Management Plan for the Conservation of American White Pelicans, “a vulnerable wide-range conservation status.” However, the Department’s new plan stipulates 2,800 of the 5,600 pelicans currently living in the area must be killed to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems. The Department also stated plans to prevent the creation of new breeding colonies despite having admitted this is currently one of the biggest issues restraining American white pelicans. They are justifying this policy with the recent decline of Yellowstone cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and other species fished for sport caused by pelican consumption.
The pelicans have done nothing but hunt their natural prey. Murdering thousands of pelicans to prevent the decline of alternate animal populations is a reductionist solution that ignores the well-being of the pelicans. Nowhere in the plan has the department outlined possible fish management strategies that take into consideration the needs of the greater ecosystem as a whole. Sign the petition below to prevent the Idaho Department of Fish and Game from carrying out plans to murder thousands of American white pelicans.
Dear Director Virgil,
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has recently devised a plan to kill off half the current American white pelican population in Idaho in an attempt to revive native fish species. This plan would be devastating for the conservation of the pelicans who are already facing breeding challenges in Idaho and all along the west coast.
The method you have chosen to mitigate the decline in local fish populations ignores the nuances of ecology within Idaho’s aquatic terrain. Your plan does not take into account any other factors placing pressure on dwindling fish populations such as habitat loss and fragmentation, hybridization, and population isolation. Rather than approaching with a holistic understanding of geographical and population needs, your plan assumes murdering half the pelican population, which is in urgent need of increased conservation efforts, is the only way to alleviate the problem. The policy you have drafted fails to critically examine the complex relationship between predator and prey. I demand you not implement this policy and that you find more creative, productive solutions to restore fish species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Frank Schulenberg