Center for Biological Diversity
Pop X
No. 54, May 15, 2015
The Disappearance of Herbivores

In a Kenyan wildlife conservancy, the world's last male northern white rhino, Sudan, lives under the protection of a 24-hour armed guard. According to a study published this month in Science Advances, white rhinos aren't the only large herbivores in trouble. The study, succinctly titled "Collapse of the world's largest herbivores," found that about 60 percent of the planet's largest plant-eaters -- including rhinos, elephants, gorillas and bison -- are threatened with extinction.

As usual, we're the biggest threat to the survival of these species: "Growing human populations, unsustainable hunting, high densities of livestock, and habitat loss have devastating consequences for large, long-lived, slow-breeding, and therefore, vulnerable herbivore species."

This disappearance is more than a loss of species that have long captured our imaginations; these animals also play a key role in the survival of their ecosystems and other wildlife. But as the report points out, there's a lot that can be done to save them, including reducing human fertility rates and reducing meat consumption.

World Population Day, the annual event created by the United Nations to raise awareness of population issues, is coming up soon. Keep an eye on your inbox for ways to get involved and help save herbivores and the other rare and vanishing creatures that share our crowded planet.

For the wild,
Stephanie Feldstein Stephanie Feldstein
Population and Sustainability Director
P.S. Today's world population is: 7,268,194,819. We can still save room for wildlife -- spread the word and share the newsletter below.

Celebrate Women, Save Family Planning Services

High fiveBetween Mother's Day, International Women's Day and Women's Health Week, the May calendar reads like a celebration of women. But sadly the headlines tell a different story, with news across the country of women's reproductive rights under attack -- including a promising bill to expand the Colorado Family Planning Initiative killed earlier this month by the state's Republican-controlled Senate.

Among the ongoing threats to women's health and rights are the attempts by Congress to chip away at the Title X Family Planning program. Title X, enacted under the Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs, is the only federal grant program dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning and related health services. This year a bill has been reintroduced to permanently eliminate funding for any family planning clinics that provide abortions.

This means public clinics that provide services such as cancer screening, STD testing and prenatal care to millions of women and men, particularly in low-income communities, would lose vital funding to continue providing health services. This includes providers like Planned Parenthood health centers, which have been visited by one in five women in the United States.

Support women and family planning by signing UltraViolet's petition to save funding for reproductive health centers.

Mel the Koala Petition delivery
Student Vids Take On Population

Mary Poffenroth, a San Jose State University instructor, once again challenged her class of biology students to create Condoms for Conservation videos, using our Endangered Species Condoms as inspiration. This semester's slate of videos includes spoken word poetry, a mock infomercial and a stuffed koala with an important message. Watch our favorites. Also check out "The World Is in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction" and the other winning videos from Population Connection's annual "World of 7 Billion" student video contest.

150k Call for Less Meat -- Thanks

Earlier this month I delivered a petition signed by 150,000 Americans (including many of you) urging the federal government to adopt the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's health and sustainability recommendations for less meat and more plant-based foods in the final guidelines. The petition, led by the Center and Friends of the Earth, was supported by more than a dozen environmental, public health and food advocacy organizations as part of a growing movement calling for dietary guidelines that are better for our health and for the planet.

Stop the Grand Canyon Mega-mall
Grand Canyon Havasu Falls Grand Canyon

A multinational developer is eyeing Tusayan, Ariz., for the location of its next mega-mall -- right on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon.

The proposed mall would bring suburban sprawl to the area and, even worse, alter water flows to local sacred seeps and springs.

Tell the Forest Service to save this natural treasure and deny the right-of-way access that would allow the development to move forward.

Welcome New Population and Sustainability Staff

Northern spotted owletsWe're excited to welcome two new staff members to the Population and Sustainability team this month.

Leigh Moyer is a Tucson native who joined the Center after several years of successful labor organizing on the East Coast. She brings years of experience as a campaigner, field organizer, volunteer manager and writer. As our new population organizer, Leigh develops and runs campaigns to expand our groundbreaking work to highlight the connections between human population growth and wildlife extinction. She also manages our Endangered Species Condoms project.

Greer Ryan, our new sustainability research associate, provides scientific and policy support to the team and is working closely with our energy policy analyst to develop what our sustainable energy future can look like and how we'll get there. Greer is a former Center intern who holds a bachelor's degree in molecular environmental biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's in environmental science from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Photo credits: Stephanie Feldstein staff photo; high-five courtesy Flickr/byronv2; koala video screengrab courtesy Johnny Ly; petition delivery courtesy Center for Biological Diversity; Grand Canyon courtesy NPS; Havasu Falls (c) Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity; Grand Canyon courtesy Flickr/James Marvin Phelps; northern spotted owlets courtesy USFWS.

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