Dear Ellen, we are your biggest fans. Your commitment to animals and your advocacy for both people and nature has inspired millions of people around the world. We now want to ask you one favour to further help our world’s wildlife…
Dear Ellen, Dory Needs Your Help
Pixar’s most beloved character, Dory, will hit cinemas later this month for the much-anticipated sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo; Finding Dory. Nemo’s chatty sidekick -voiced by talk show host and animal activist, Ellen DeGeneres – is, however, facing grave threats as scientists remind viewers that the real Dory – the Pacific blue tang – is actually being illegally harvested.
It is an unfortunate and all-too-familiar practice. Huge blockbuster hits attract families, who fall in love with the fun and friendly animated animals on the big screen before rushing out to buy one of the animals.
Before long, the cute new member of the family often loses its allure; the animal dies, is abandoned, or is surrendered to overwhelmed rescue groups. Sometimes, the animal becomes endangered or is the victim of the wildlife trafficking epidemic.
Since the 2003 release of Finding Nemo, clownfish have been pushed to the brink of extinction as the demand for the adorable ‘Nemo’ continues more than a decade later.
Hundreds of thousands of live turtles were purchased after each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, with many later dumped, deliberately killed or flushed down the toilet. The American Tortoise Rescue estimated that 90 percent of the animals died.
The 1970’s hit cartoon, Get That Rascal! instigated an army invasion of racoons in Japan, that has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to Japanese cities and caused the destruction of ancient temples.
And right now, the Pacific blue tang (Dory) is being threatened with sharp population declines.
An online petition which has nearly reached its goal of 110,000 signatures calls for Disney to take direct action to protect the Pacific blue tang.
But we think that the best way to protect Dory, is for Ellen, a real-life animal hero, to take the reins and publicly support the at-risk fish by asking her loyal fans not to buy Dory!
Why We Shouldn’t Find Dory
The Pacific blue tang is a beautiful blue, yellow and black fish found in Indo-Pacific waters. A popular fish in marine aquaria, it is the only member of the genus Paracanthurus. A number of common names are attributed to the species, including regal tang, palette surgeonfish, blue tang, royal blue tang, hippo tang, flagtail surgeonfish, Pacific regal blue tang and blue surgeonfish.
Concern for fish welfare is on the increase, particularly in the wake of Disney’s announcement of the Finding Dory movie.
The expected demand for blue tang fish – or, the Dory fish – is going to have a catastrophic effect on fish populations and ecosystems, scientists warn.
“Even if only a few hundred new people want Pacific Blue Tangs as pets, that demand could take a toll on the environment. Pacific Blue Tangs can’t be bred in captivity—all attempts have failed so far—so they must be captured in the wild. Fishermen in areas with high Pacific Blue Tang populations don’t always use the best methods,” says Ecowatch.
Judy St. Leger, president of Rising Tide Conservation said that fish can be collected in ways that are not good for either the fish or the environment they live in.
“Unfortunately, some of the fishes that are collected for their ornamental value can be collected in ways that aren’t as good as they can be for the fish or for the reefs that they live in,” she said.
Currently, 100,000 to 150,000 Pacific Blue Tangs are bought in the U.S. every year, Andy Rhyne, a marine biologist at Roger Williams University, told NPR’s Jed Kim on Marketplace.
How You Can Help:
> Please share this article far and wide, and tweet it to Ellen, asking her to pledge her commitment to protecting Dory.
> Sign the online petition here.
> Download our app, World of the Wild, and support wildlife and environmental conservation and education.
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