WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity will head to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 8 to distribute Endangered Species Condoms in honor of World Ocean Day and mark the 50th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Center staff will hand out newly designed right whale condom packages with the slogan “Cover your spout… don’t let the right whale die out.” The new right whale design is part of the Center’s Endangered Species Condoms campaign, which draws attention to how human population growth is affecting critically endangered species.
“The North Atlantic right whale population has dropped to its lowest number in nearly 20 years, and there are only about 30 right whales left in the eastern North Pacific,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney at the Center. “As our human population grows, so does the demand for globalized trade, causing more vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglements.”
The federal government estimates that human activity kills roughly 20 North Atlantic right whales every year. Entanglement in commercial fishing gear is responsible for most of these deaths, followed by vessel strikes. When right whales get tangled in fishing gear, they can drown immediately or die over an extended period from injuries, infections or starvation. Vessel collisions kill right whales by causing blunt-force trauma or propeller strikes that can result in fatal blood loss, lacerations or amputations.
“Every day we add 227,000 people to the planet,” said Kilduff. “We’re crowding out other plants and animals. These condoms help people make the connection between safe sex and saving wildlife.”
In addition to the new right whale condom design, there are nine other Endangered Species Condoms. They’re wrapped in colorful packages featuring different endangered species and information about the pressure that human population growth puts on polar bears, monarch butterflies, and other imperiled wildlife. The Center has given away more than 1 million free Endangered Species Condoms since 2009.
The new right whale condom design was commissioned in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Act was adopted by Congress in 1972 to protect marine mammal populations, many of which had severely declined due to fishing and other human activities. It established a national policy to protect and recover marine mammal species.
World Ocean Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008. The day brings people around the globe together to protect and restore our shared ocean and climate. Capitol Hill Ocean Week convenes people in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to sustain the health of our ocean and Great Lakes and is free and open to the public.