Yes on Initiative 1401: Save Animals Facing Extinction

Illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking is the fourth largest transnational crime behind weapon, drug, and human trafficking, and funds other types of violence and criminal organizations across the globe. Passing I-1401 will help reduce that violence. In addition, many of the animals protected by I-1401 are killed for medicinal use despite no real evidence of the efficacy of these expensive treatments.

While New York and New Jersey have passed laws to protect elephants and rhinos, I-1401 will prohibit and strengthen the penalties for the sale, purchase and distribution of products made from a list of 10 endangered animals: elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, marine turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays. Despite widespread public opposition to these practices, powerful special interest groups continue to lobby state legislatures and Congress to oppose common sense laws that would protect iconic species slipping toward extinction.

I-1401 would ban the sale or purchase of products made from endangered and exploited animals, including elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, pangolins, marine turtles, sharks and rays. It will be the first statewide ballot measure to help protect iconic species on the verge of being slaughtered into extinction. Passing it will set a national, and perhaps even international, precedent.

But first, at least 325,000 signatures must be collected by July to make the November ballot, in addition to building a robust, statewide campaign.

Join philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, in getting this bill passed this November.

saveanimalsfacingextinction.org

Full text of the initiative here.

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Earth Day 2015

Every day is Earth Day!

Here are a few suggestions of ways to celebrate all year:

  • Plant a tree and a garden
  • Walk to work
  • Compost and Recycle even more and reduce trash output
  • Take children out to experience nature
  • Eat more local food & use reusable bags when shopping
  • Volunteer to improve trails and parks and waterways

Pledge your “Act of Green” at earthday.org

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Por El Planeta photo competition deadline March 27!

porelplanetaThere are five more days to enter your photos to the Por El Planeta Photo Competition, with a grand prize of $100,000 to be put toward a conservation photo project.

Por el Planeta is not just a photography contest, it’s a movement seeking to transform our relationship with the planet and its wildlife. The competition was born out of a desire to reaffirm narrative photography as a powerful tool that encourages nature conservation and generates an appreciation for biodiversity.

“We believe photography is more than just light, beautiful pictures or perfect proportions,” said award-winning photographer Cristina Mittermeier, director of Por el Planeta. “It is also a vehicle for real change.”

Por el Planeta will award more resources than any other photography contest to recognize the dedication, skill and talent of photographers who strive to create images that infuse society with an understanding of and care for our shared natural heritage. At the same time, Por el Planeta wishes to encourage the development of new photography and conservation projects, mobilize audiences and raise awareness of the daily threats faced by our biodiversity.

•    Por el Planeta is a Wildlife, Nature and Conservation Photo Competition organized by  Televisa, the Mexican government and National Geographic as a mission partner.
•    Por el Planeta will allocate over $300,000 US in prize money for the winners.
•    All profits will be donated to conservation initiatives.
•    Submissions close date: March 27, 2015

For more information and to enter, visit porelplanetaphoto.com

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Norbert Rosing will be joining my Svalbard trip!

Click this image to find out all the details on the Exclusive Svalbard Tour, August 19-31, 2015.

I have some terrific news for the Svalbard tour coming up in August. National Geographic photographer Norbert Rosing will be coming along!

norbert

nobertbook

Sign up by March 17th to take advantage of the early bird special pricing!

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Can One Person Really Make A Difference?

Can one person really make a difference? Rachel Carson did – she wrote the book Silent Spring just over 50 years ago in 1962 which woke up the American public to the fact that we were killing off our wildlife at an alarming rate – with many on the brink of extinction. Despite the claims and disinformation of the chemicals companies she laid out the scientific proof that DDT was responsible for the decline in birds of prey. Her book and public awareness ultimately lead to the Endangered Species Act signed into law in 1973.

Each of the animals in this album would have been extinct by today had it not been for the Endangered Species Act turning their fate around.

American Alligator – nearly gone by the 1960s for their skins to produce purses and shoes, protected in 1967, they were removed from the list just 20 years later after a hearty come back.

A jumbled mass of juvenile American alligators, Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

Whooping Cranes – hunted for their feathers for fashion there were only 16 birds left in 1941. In 1967 under the act’s protection the few remaining birds were rounded up for captive breeding and today several hundred exist in the wild.

Whooping Crane amidst Sandhill Cranes, New Mexico, USA (Endangered)

Bald Eagle – By 1963 there were just 417 breeding pairs in the lower 48 due to DDT, today there are over 10,000 and you no longer have to go to a zoo to see our nations symbol. Likewise Peregrine Falcons are doing well with many taking to the skyscrapers of large cities to raise the next generation while preying on pigeons.

Bald eagle on nest, Orcas Island, Washington

Grizzly Bear – by the 1970s there were around 140 bears, mostly in Yellowstone National Park, when they were put under protection in 1973 – today there are some 1200-1400 in the lower 48 (still far from their original estimated 50,000 at the time of Lewis and Clark).

Grizzly or brown bear, Glacier National Park, Montana

Grey Wolf – virtually extinct by the 1930s due to hunting, protected and reintroduced into Yellowstone in the 1970s there are an estimated 5,000 wolves in the lower 48 today.

The Leopold pack of grey wolves, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Californian Condor – In 1987 the last 22 Condors were captured in the wild for captive breeding and today around 200 live in the wild. Alive, but still one of the rarest birds on the planet.

California condor, Colorado River, Arizona

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Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space

timthumb.phpEfforts to conserve parks and protected areas around the world are being aided by Earth observations from space-based sensors operated by NASA and other space agencies as well as commercial providers. Sanctuary highlights how the view from space is being used to protect some of the world’s most interesting, changing, and threatened places.

“Sanctuary: Exploring the World’s Protected Areas from Space,” published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Arlington, Virginia) with support from NASA, debuted at the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia. The once-a-decade meeting is sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest global environmental organization founded in 1948.

Download the PDF version.

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Opening of Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition at the Smithsonian

Cuernos del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Opening today on the 2nd Floor the National Museum of Natural History Presents the Annual Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards Exhibition.

Within a 4,000 square foot exhibition hall, 60 large-format prints are displayed—some at nearly life-sized proportions—with two accompanying HD videos. Museum visitors are taken along on a virtual global safari and are introduced to the image-makers and their stories from behind the camera lens.

Art is featured as the Photographer of the Year in recognition of his extraordinary body of
work over the past 40 years and the contributions he has made to natural history awareness. “Photographers everywhere are making a difference in the way we see the world and our place in it,” says Wolfe. “Never stop looking: no matter where you are,
there are good photographs to be made.”

Art will be doing a book signing of Earth Is My Witness on November 13, as well as attending the awards presentations that night.

www.naturesbestphotography.com

See the full News Release

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Mountain Gorillas, Uganda

The Gorilla Forest Camp nestled in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a tremendous place to see the endangered mountain gorillas as well as other wildlife large & small. I love photographing the gorillas, their calm intelligence shines through in their eyes. Now, on to Ethiopia!

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Fall 2014 Newsletter

Milky Way over Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

In case you missed it, here is my Fall Newsletter.

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50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

wild50ToEnjoyOn September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands for the use and benefit of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America’s support for wilderness, Congress has added over 100 million acres to this unique land preservation system. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.

www.wilderness50th.org

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