Protect Rare Bird Species from Extinction

Target: Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect the western yellow-billed cuckoo by designating it as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act

For years, wildlife activists have been pushing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to protect the increasingly rare western yellow-billed cuckoo. In October, 2013, the USFWS finally put forth a proposal to go ahead and list this bird as an official Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Dan Ashe, the Director of the USFWS, needs to be encouraged to make sure this designation happens.

Yellow-billed cuckoos once lived in abundance west of the Continental Divide, in habitats with up to 100 acres of riverside woodlands. Unfortunately, over the past few decades, the overwhelming majority of these riparian habitats have been damaged or destroyed by logging, agriculture, dams, urban sprawl, and other ongoing threats. Due to such catastrophic loss of habitat, the yellow-billed cuckoo is now extinct in several Western states and threatened with extinction in others — there are estimated to be fewer than 30 birds in Colorado alone. With protection from the USFWS, this now rare species of bird may be able to survive and recover into a sustainable wildlife population.

According to their website, the USFWS works “to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.” One of the USFWS’s greatest tools to help protect our wildlife is the ESA, which was enacted in 1973 to “prevent the extinction of our most at-risk plants and animals, increase their numbers and  effect their full recovery.” Scientists estimate that the ESA, since its inception, has “prevented extinction for 99% of species under its protection” as well as “shown a 90% recovery rate in more than 100 species” in America.

The Endangered Species Act works. The western yellow-billed cuckoo is faced with possible extinction. These threatened birds need the ESA’s protection. Sign the petition below to let Dan Ashe, the Director of the USFWS, know how much the western yellow-billed cuckoo needs to be designated as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act.


Dear Mr. Ashe,

I was heartened to hear of your recent proposal to list the western yellow-billed cuckoo as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act. This species has grown increasingly rare in the Western United States due to the extreme loss and destruction of its natural habitats from such ongoing threats as logging, agriculture, dams, urban sprawl, and others. I believe the western yellow-billed cuckoo will become extinct without federal protection, and I encourage you and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help this species survive and recover.

The Endangered Species Act has demonstrated remarkable success rates as far as preventing species from going extinct, as well as helping those same species recover to the point where they no longer even need federal protection. I encourage you to use the Endangered Species Act to help save one more species: the western yellow-billed cuckoo.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: MdF at Wikimedia Commons

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102 Signatures

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