#MapMonday: #Vote4Wildlife

Wolves can’t ask for food. Whales can’t stop ship traffic. Black-footed ferrets can’t stop habitat loss. Most Americans value wildlife and wild places, and when it comes to protecting wildlife - what matters is preserving habitat, giving wildlife a chance at survival and keeping our Earth inhabitable.

Learn more: defenders.org/vote-wildlife

Click to view video transcript

Hi there and happy Map Monday! Today, we are sharing with you a new map created to highlight what’s at stake this and every election season: the amazing wildlife species and environments we care about.

Whether you’re a fan of North Atlantic right whales or Mexican gray wolves, imperiled species represent over 1,660 reasons to vote for wildlife.

Once thought to be extinct in the wild, there are now around 350 black-footed ferrets, but habitat loss, disease, poisoning, and human intolerance threaten their comeback.

Mexican gray wolves, or El Lobo as they are known along the Arizona/Mexico border, are the most endangered subspecies of wolf. Human misconceptions and reluctance to release more wolves to the wild threaten their recovery.

North Atlantic right whales migrate between their North Atlantic feeding grounds and their calving grounds in the warm South Atlantic waters. It’s a journey fraught with danger as the whales encounter vessel traffic, fishing gear, and seismic blasting.

And it doesn’t stop there. There is so much at stake for the wildlife we all cherish.

Rosie: In Colorado, voters will decide on a ballot initiative to bring gray wolves back to the state.

Kerry: In the Pacific Northwest, dam removal could bring more salmon back to the Columbia River basin, feeding the region’s starving endangered southern resident orcas.

Kyle: For sea turtles, the ocean is full of dangers, from offshore drilling, to fishing gear, to plastic debris, and on land habitat destruction and artificial lighting endanger nesting and hatching sea turtles.

Lauren: Protection of habitat is essential for wildlife conservation, to ensure imperiled species have space and ecosystems required to support their recovery.

Sarah: Grizzly bears are an icon of the Alaskan wilderness. But previously banned hunting practices - including baiting and killing mother bears with cubs in their dens - are now allowed in Alaska’s national preserves.

Cameron: For such small birds, red knots sure can go the distance. These Atlantic Ocean shorebirds fly up to 9,000 miles between seasons, stopping only to eat horseshoe crab eggs along the way. But overharvesting of crabs means slim pickings for famished red knots, with populations now diminishing by the year.

Tracy: This All-American wolf once roamed from Pennsylvania to Florida and as far west as Texas, but today there are only nine known red wolves in the wilds of North Carolina. Without reintroductions and proper management, this wolf may blink out entirely from the Southeast.

Katy Bear: For sea otters in the Pacific, oil spills and pollution continue to poison their habitat. Human interactions, including boat strikes, fishing gear entanglement and aggression or disruption from boaters, also pose a significant threat to these playful creatures.

Lindsay: Protecting biodiversity and the inherent value of balanced ecosystems is at the root of what we do here at Defenders.

Biodiversity is inextricably tied to every other part of our lives, and the need for a healthy planet has never been more evident than during this pandemic.

You have the power to confront biodiversity loss and stand up for a diverse and inclusive world for current and future generations of humans and wildlife.

All you need to do is vote.

Lindsay Rosa
Senior Conservation Scientist

As a Conservaion GIS Scientist with the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders, Lindsay leads geospatial analysis projects to improve conservation policies and practices.