Protect the Clownfish from Extinction

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Help save the beloved clownfish from habitat and species destruction brought on by the climate crisis.


Clownfish are adorable little fish. However, given the threats they currently face from climate change and habitat destruction, it's possible we may soon lose this species forever.

As overall surface temperatures rise due to carbon emissions caused by humans, ocean waters acidify and in turn deplete coral reefs. Mass coral bleaching events and infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent1.

Further, carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean from the atmosphere has already begun to reduce calcification rates in reef-building and reef-associated organisms through ocean acidification2.

Clownfish rely on coral reefs for their survival, and the anemones those reefs support for reproduction. Some choose to live exclusively in a single species of anemone, which makes life even more difficult for the discerning clownfish3. The anemone protects the clownfish, and the fish's swimming aerates the water around the anemone, but finding an anemone home is already a difficult and time consuming process for the clownfish, involving a special dance, followed by covering themselves with mucus which ensures immunity against the toxicity of a target anemone4.

Though the clownfish isn't currently endangered, that possibility isn't far off if global warming continues at the current rate.

Clownfish (as with many other fish species) are known to only reproduce within a very small temperature range. It follows, therefore, that an increase in temperature could discourage clownfish from breeding. High temperatures have also been shown to cause eggs to perish. Either of these outcomes, or a combination of the two, could have disastrous consequences for clownfish5.

In order to ward off further habitat destruction we need to preemptively protect the clownfish by placing it on the Endangered Species List. With this move, both government and conservation agencies will be able to draft and implement life-saving measures for clownfish.

Show your support for this adorable and iconic fish! Sign the petition below and demand the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extend protections to the clownfish before it is too late.

More on this issue:

  1. National Ocean Service, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (26 February 2021), "How does climate change affect coral reefs?"
  2. National Ocean Service, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (1 April 2020), "Ocean Acidification."
  3. Karolina Figas, Earth.org (5 May 2020), "Clownfish Unable to Adapt to the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say."
  4. The Global Education Project, "Common Clownfish."
  5. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2009), "Species and climate change: More than just the Polar Bear."
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The Petition:

Dear Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

The clownfish is a beloved, adorable little fish that swims in tropical waters and calls the coral reef its home — and it was perhaps made even more popular by the 2003 Disney movie Finding Nemo. It's no secret that this little guy, with his colorful orange and black markings, captures the attention of people all over the world.

But the clownfish is in danger. As greenhouse gas emissions on the part of human activity are only increasing, our oceans are acidifying. When waters become more acidic, the reefs' growth slows and in turn, the clownfish suffers from loss of habitat and food source.

We need to intervene before the clownfish becomes severely affected by the loss of its precious coral reefs. This means not only doing all we can to reduce global warming, but also placing the clownfish on the Endangered Species List so that conservation agencies and the government have the tools they need to begin protecting this species with fervor.

Please use your power as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure the clownfish does not reach endangered levels!

Sincerely,

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Signatures: