For Immediate Release, June 1, 2007
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185
Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 907-1533
Megan Prentiss, Working Assets Wireless, (415) 369-2041
Conservationists Team With Working Assets Wireless to Distribute Free Endangered Species Ringtones
Wildlife Ringtones Reach 72,000 Downloads in More Than 50 Countries
TUCSON, Ariz– The Center for Biological Diversity, a national leader in the protection of endangered species, is partnering with the progressive telephone company, Working Assets Wireless (www.workingassetswireless.com), to distribute free endangered species cell-phone ringtones. The partnership will allow all Working Assets Wireless customers to quickly and easily add the chirps, hoots and howls of 65 different rare and threatened wildlife species to their cell phones, calling attention to endangered species each time their phones ring.
“Ringing phones are now starting conversations about the need to protect endangered species,” said Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We are pleased to team up with Working Assets Wireless to educate more people about the extinction crisis and inspire them to protect endangered wildlife.”
In addition to notifying their wireless customers of the free ringtones available, Working Assets Wireless is encouraging their customers to take action on global warming, both through their Web site at www.workingassets.com/coolit and in their customers’ June phone bills. The Working Assets Web site also provides a simple comparison-shopping tool to find a car that puts less carbon in the atmosphere.
The free ringtones of dozens of rare and endangered animals from around the world, including the polar bear, blue-throated macaw, boreal owl, orca and Mexican wolf, can also be downloaded directly from the Center’s www.rareearthtones.org Web site. Ringtones and photos of the red poison-dart frog, rockhopper penguin, Puerto Rico rock frog, American pika and half a dozen rare North American birds were added recently.
The site features calls of 16 North American frogs and toads, 25 imperiled owls from around the world and 20 other rare birds, and also offers free wallpaper images of these animals for cell phone screens. The endangered wildlife ringtones have been so popular since they were unveiled in December that more than 72,000 people in over 50 countries have downloaded the calls to their cell phones. The orca and the Mexican wolf are the most popular ringtone sounds, with more than 13,000 downloads each so far.
One of the most popular ringtones is the polar bear, a species at risk of extinction because global warming is causing catastrophic environmental change in the Arctic, including the rapid melting of sea ice. Because polar 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 has been leading efforts to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act: in 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. From the Center’s Web site at www.biologicaldiversity.org people can take action to protect the polar bear by asking their Congressional representative to support the Safe Climate Act, a science-based bill to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and reverse the global warming crisis.
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 could 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.
The Center’s rareearthtones.org Web site 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 other endangered species worldwide.
The wildlife ringtones have been featured on ABC News, CNN, National Public Radio and in several dozen newspaper articles nationwide including Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Stockton Record and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
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.
Working Assets is a wireless, long distance and credit card company dedicated to supporting progressive organizations working for peace, human rights, economic justice, education and the environment. To date the company has raised over $50 million for progressive causes and it gives its customers the opportunity to speak out on critical public issues through its Web site and monthly phone bill. Working Assets customers generate about 80,000 calls and letters monthly on important issues of public concern.