Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe
Goal: Obtain federal protection for rare turtles, salamanders, and other reptiles and amphibians
Recently, the Center for Biological Diversity, along with several renowned scientists and herpetologists, filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to determine whether five rare reptiles and amphibians warrant consideration for Endangered Species Act protection. These animals’ survival is under increasing threat from habitat loss and other factors in the Northeast. The Center originally petitioned the Wildlife Service in 2012 but no action has been taken. Urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a formal investigation into whether these species should be protected.
The five species in question include the wood turtle, spotted turtle, green salamander, Peaks of Otter salamander and white-spotted salamander. As a result of habitat destruction, toxic pesticides, and other human factors, scientists and herpetologists estimate that one in four reptiles and amphibians is at risk of extinction. These animals play important roles as predators and prey in their ecosystems and losing them would be a blow to their local environments. A broad scientific consensus points to human activity as being responsible for driving these species to extinction.
The Endangered Species Act would save these species from further harm. More than two hundred scientists recently sent a letter to the Wildlife Service, urging the agency to review the status of the petitioned animals. Despite the fact the Service is required to make an initial finding within ninety days of receiving a petition about whether protections may be warranted, it still has not acted more than a year and a half later. Demand that Service Director Ashe act immediately to ensure that human activity does not drive these species to extinction.
Dear Director Ashe,
I am writing to urge you to ensure that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts a review to determine if several rare amphibians and reptiles inhabiting the Northeast warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the agency more than a year and a half ago, and despite your agency’s ninety day review period policy, no action has been taken.
According to broad consensus within the scientific community, the wood turtle, spotted turtle, green salamander, Peaks of Otter salamander and white-spotted salamander, among other species, all face extinction due to habitat destruction, toxic pesticides, and other human activity. These animals play integral roles within their ecosystems and losing them would harm their local environments.
Swift action is needed to ensure that these species remain intact in the Northeast. Human activity is causing their demise, yet we have an opportunity to protect them moving forward. I urge you to call for an immediate review and help save these species from destruction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: John J. Mosesso via Wikimedia Commons