For Immediate Release, December 18, 2008
Contact: Peter Galvin, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 986-7805
Endangered Species Ringtone Downloads Exceed 200,000 Milestone;
Seven New Tones Added to Popular Feature
TUCSON, Ariz.— Those who say imperiled species don’t have a voice of their own might want to reconsider after visiting the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered wildlife ringtone Web site. The Center’s ringtones have been downloaded more than 200,000 times, bringing the growls, trills, and cries of 90 species to the cell phones of many thousands of people worldwide.
To mark the occasion, the Center is adding the calls of six endangered bird species to the site: Gunnison’s sage grouse, Bell’s vireo, Mexican spotted owl, northern goshawk, peregrine falcon, and tricolored blackbird. The new flock of ringtones also includes an entirely flightless but equally charismatic species: an elephant seal pup. In addition to the newcomers, animals ranging from the pocket-sized American pika to the 40-ton humpback whale are already making their voices heard on the Web site.
The ringtones, which can be downloaded for free, are intended to draw attention to the plight of endangered species while providing a natural alternative to the typical electronic jangle.
“We offered these ringtones to give people a chance to hear these calls of the wild so they’ll understand the importance of saving these species from extinction,” said Peter Galvin, the Center’s conservation director. “We’re delighted that so many thousands of people around the world are coming to the Web site to take advantage of the free downloads – many people visit time and time again to find new animals to enjoy.”
Given the program’s popularity, the Center is shoring up its rareearthtones.org Web site with key information on each featured animal for those who want to know more about the rare creatures whose calls grace their tones – and, the Center hopes, who want to help educate others.
Each of the ringtones featured on rareearthtones.org now has its own spotlight page, including stats on each animal’s habitat, range, population trends, threats to its survival – and, on the lighter side – engaging facts about its life in the wild.
The rareearthtones.org site also allows users to listen to wildlife ringtones, send them directly to their phones with a simple click, and download cell phone wallpapers for each of the featured wildlife species.
Since the Center began offering them in December 2006, the ringtones have steadily gained worldwide appeal, downloaded by people in more than 150 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, Spain and the United States.
The tones of the killer whale and Mexican gray wolf are the two most popular ringtones, followed by the beluga, barred owl, loon, bobcat and polar bear.
“We saw the ringtones as a way to start a conversation on endangered species – someone overhears the ringtone and ends up talking with the person whose cell phone has the ringtone about the animal they heard,” Galvin said. “Based on the worldwide interest we’ve seen, we’re pleased with the success of the campaign in sparking countless conversations about endangered species around the world.”
The ringtones also have captured the attention of national media, including ABC News, Arizona Daily Star, CNN, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Louisville Courier-Journal, MSNBC, National Public Radio, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and USA Today.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit conservation organization with 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.