A message from KP2, the Hawaiian monk seal:
As a highly endangered species people are always asking me, "What can I do to help?"
Like so many folks, I've been slow to answer. Of course we know the answer - we need people to care about animals, and science to lead us out of the environmental chaos. But how can this happen with the state of the world and governments these days?
It is not a matter of just letting nature take its course. The wild has become a stark place for animals. Animals are so intimately molded to their environment that wild species are not built to withstand the cavalier treatment of nature at the hands of man. This week the latest endangered casualty is a tiny dolphin. The smallest cetacean in the world, the vaquita, is swimming into extinction in the warm waters of Mexico. With only 60 vaquitas left, there are not even enough to create a decent family pod.
Now I've never seen a vaquita and it is likely that neither have you. Nevertheless, it makes me sad to think that they will die out in my lifetime, right under my nose. It is even sadder because my species is not far behind.Here is how I imagine the vaquita looks.
Weighing only 95 pounds (about the size of a 12 year old boy), they must have the tiniest hearts in the entire whale kingdom. I imagine it must beat very fast when they sprint across the water, rather like the hearts small mammals and birds. Vaquitas are like the hummingbirds of the seas, flitting about invisible to people and getting caught in fisherman nets. That is what makes them so vulnerable- how can you save an animal that you've never seen?
Well, here's your chance. President Obama wants to hear your ideas about what we can do to help shape the future of science, discovery, and exploration. He is looking to young people to guide what the government should do. I can't think of a better activity for the last week of the school year, and for parents, their children and their friends to join in on than to help save me and my wild friends.
So tell the President how you would like to save the world and all of its animals- click here for his idea website. You have the next 10 days to tell him that you care about what is happening to your world and that it will be a sadder place without monk seals and vaquitas, polar bears, lions and the rest of Earth's incredible animals. Let him know your ideas about how to make it better, and the science that should be done- he is listening to you with his amazing presidential ears.
Do it for all of us, so we don't end up as just a cartoon character in your mind. We are real!