For Immediate Release, March 19, 2007
||Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185
Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 986-7805
Polar Bear’s Roar Added to Wildlife Ringtones
Endangered Species Ringtones Reach 50,000 Downloads in 50 Countries
TUCSON, Ariz.– Your chances of hearing the song of a killer whale, the howl of an endangered Mexican gray wolf or the roar of a polar bear in a major metropolitan area have just improved dramatically. The Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species cell phone ringtones, available for free download at www.rareearthtones.org, have been so popular since they were unveiled on December 18th that more than 50,000 people have the endangered species calls on their cell phones.
Cell-phone users in over 50 countries have downloaded the ringtones, primarily in the United States, Britain, Italy, China, Canada and Brazil. Currently there are over 1,000 new downloads each day.
The Web site features free ringtones of the howls, croaks, chirps, songs and calls of more than 40 rare and endangered animals from around the world. A ringtone roar of a polar bear was added today. The polar bear ringtone is also being made available to the 10,000 or more friends of the polar bear signed up on the Center’s polar bear page on myspace.com.
The most popular ringtone species are the orca and Mexican gray wolf, with over 10,000 downloads each so far. Other popular ringtones are the barred owl, tropical birds such as the blue-throated macaw and Peruvian plantcutter, and amphibians including the Cascades frog and Pine Barrens treefrog.
“Ringtones with a conservation message are quickly spreading across the globe. We are delighted at the overwhelming response and the opportunity to educate people about endangered species,” said Peter Galvin, the Center’s conservation director. “Now you can easily download the sound of a polar bear, educate people about global warming each time your phone rings, and with one click send a comment letter supporting endangered species protection for this vanishing arctic species.”
Polar bears are at risk of extinction because global warming is causing catastrophic environmental change in the Arctic, including the rapid melting of sea ice. Because the bears are deeply dependent on the sea ice for their survival, they stand to become the first mammals in the world to lose 100 percent of their habitat to global warming. The Center for Biological Diversity has been leading efforts to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act: In February 2005 the Center filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the polar bear as a threatened species, and in December 2006 the Service proposed listing the bear. A final listing decision is due in January 2008.
Endangered Species Act protection for the polar bear will require the U.S. government to address global warming, the greatest threat to polar bears' survival, as well as increase scrutiny for expanding oil and gas exploration in polar-bear habitat. Leading climate scientists warn that just ten more years of continued greenhouse gas emissions trajectories will make it difficult, if not impossible, to avoid rapid warming that would raise sea level by 20 feet or more and result in the extinction of up to one third of the planet’s species, including the polar bear. People can easily submit comments supporting the listing from the ringtones Web site.
The Center’s endangered wildlife ringtones have been featured on ABC News, CNN, National Public Radio and in more than 25 newspaper articles nationwide including Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Stockton Record, Houston Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The endangered wildlife ringtones Web site was the "Cool Site of the Day" on March 4 on the radio show of Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess.
Here are some of the rave reviews of the endangered species ringtones education campaign:
“ Change the ring tone on your cell phone, and help change the world.”
“ An ingenious viral marketing tactic to promote awareness of…the extinction crisis.”
“So geeky, it's gotta be cool. Or at least close to cool.”
Tech Journal South
“The Center for Biological Diversity has discovered the power of reaching mobile content junkies with its message of saving endangered species.”
“These ringtones are like nothing you may have heard before…in a simple note, brilliant.”
“Wireless ringtones and social consciousness. An unlikely pair? Not anymore.”
The site offers the sensational songs of tropical birds, crazy croaks of more than a dozen rare amphibians, and underwater orchestras of orcas and beluga whales. The haunting hoots of over two dozen owl calls are courtesy of the non-profit Global Owl Project, a project to identify and conserve the planet’s owls. Featured owl ringtones include the critically endangered Blakiston’s fish owl (only a few hundred remain in Russia, China and Japan), boreal owl and Puerto Rican screech-owl.
The Center’s free Web site at www.rareearthtones.org allows users to listen to ringtones, send them directly to their phones with one easy click, and download photos and fact sheets for each of the featured wildlife species. Users can also take action to save endangered species worldwide.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, science-based nonprofit organization that works to protect endangered species and wild places throughout the world. The Center has more than 35,000 members and ten offices throughout the U.S., with headquarters in Tucson, Arizona.