An open letter to humans from 20 animals who may not be around much longer.

We, the undersigned, are tired of your excuses.

1. Sea lion. Photo by Jean-Christophe Magnenet/AFP/Getty Images.


We are animals from around the globe. Strong, majestic, and beautiful.

2. Giant panda. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

But some of us are just starting to feel vulnerable.

3. Marine iguana. Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

And others are rapidly approaching extinction.

4. Hawksbill sea turtle. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

We're not here to point fingers. Mostly because we don't have any.

5. Black rhino. Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

But if we're being honest, a lot of this is your fault.

6. Rockhopper penguin. Photo by Marc Müller/AFP/Getty Images.

Well, not you specifically, but your kind. You know, humans.

French customs recovers some narwhal tusks. Photo by Francis Roche/AFP/Getty Images.

Thanks to some of your favorite pastimes like logging, overfishing, poaching, hunting, and being lax on climate change, we're in the weeds.

7. Great white shark. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

In fact, it's worse than the weeds. Some of us would kill for some weeds.

8. Red panda. Photo by Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images.

Seriously, it's bad. We're in trouble.

9. Bonobo. Photo by Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images.

But all is not lost.

10. Indochinese tigers. Photo by Ken Bohn/Zoological Society of San Diego via Getty Images.

We're holding on as long as we can, but we need your help.

11. Amur leopard. Photo by Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images.

And there are a few things you can do right now that would really help us out.

12. Dugong. Photo by Off/AFP/Getty Images.

Things like buying sustainable products and recycling, especially when it comes to your electronics.

13. Gorilla. Photo by Ivan Lieman/AFP/Getty Images.

Columbite-tantalite, known as coltan, is a metallic ore used to make cell phone and computer batteries. It's found in large quantities in central Africa which is also home to endangered gorillas. Recycling the batteries reduces the demand for coltan and could help preserve this vital land.

You can visit us in your local park or wildlife refuge.

14. Bison. Come and explore. Check out our homes and habitats. See what we're all about. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

Because once you see what's at risk, we'll be a little bit harder to ignore.

15. Humphead Wrasse. Photo by Greg Wood /AFP/Getty Images.

Oh, and have we mentioned you can take action on climate change?

16. Snow leopard. Photo by Volker Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images.

We know it's hard to think about solving climate change as an individual, but we have this thing we do called "teamwork." Maybe it will work for you too.

17. African elephants. Photo by Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images.

And lastly: Speak up. Your words are a gift. Use them for good.

18. Monarch butterfly. Photo by Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images.

Write your elected officials. Talk to your friends. Engage with the organizations fighting the good fight.

19. Chimpanzee. Photo by Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images.

Because we need your voice now more than ever. Especially since we don't have voices of our own.

20. Polar bear. Photo by Peter Steffen/AFP/Getty Images.

Signed,

Earth's Threatened, Vulnerable, and Endangered Species

True

When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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