Endangered species condoms: ‘Safe intercourse saves the dwarf seahorse’


Center for Biological Diversity

Protection for endangered wildlife can sometimes be a tough sell, especially when it's the ever-expanding footprint of us callous humans that's the problem. But when you can gently raise both health and environmental issues, throw in a little sex and have a bit of fun all at the same time, well, you've got a public relations hat trick.

At least, that was my reaction to news that the Center for Biological Diversity will be distributing 40,000 "endangered species condoms" Friday, which is World Population Day. The stunt is designed to highlight the link between rapid human population growth and the decline of some wildlife species.

The nonprofit group tries to promote environmentally-friendly behavior by the planet's 7 billion humans, who often don't recognize their impact on the rest of the living world.

"Every day we add 227,000 people to an already-crowded planet," the organization said in a news release. "Meanwhile, wildlife are going extinct at a breakneck pace, and rarely do we pause to talk about the well-documented effects our exploding numbers have on other species, the planet and our own future."

The condoms come wrapped with color pictures of six different endangered species and a tortured rhyme that I hope won't distract from your next private moment. "Don't go bare...Panthers are rare," implores one. "In the sack? Save the leatherback," exhorts another.

The Center for Biological Diversity has handed out 500,000 of the condoms--mostly in the United States, but some abroad-- in the five years since its staff came up with the idea just sitting around a conference table, said Taralynn Reynolds, the group's population and sustainability organizer. In all, 12 endangered species have been highlighted.

"We like to think that’s maybe 500,000 separate conversations that were started about this issue, because of the endangered species condoms," she said.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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Lenny Bernstein · July 9