Local Teen Nabs Hero to Animals Award for Desert Balloon Pick-Up Project

For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Las Vegas – A Hero to Animals Award from peta2, PETA’s youth division, is on its way to Christian Daniels, 17, for his work picking up Mylar balloons in the Mojave Desert to protect tortoises and other wildlife.

Daniels started the Desert Balloon Project to raise awareness of the potentially deadly consequences of releasing balloons into the air: “The tortoises will mistake them for flowers, and they’ll eat the plastic, and it will kill their insides, so that’s why I started picking up balloons,” Daniels says. “If I can, I will go twice a week.” His father, Bill; his older brother, Hayden and their dog, Ruby, often join him on his balloon-hunting adventures.

“Christian Daniels’ work to rid the desert of dangerous balloons makes him a true ally for Nevada wildlife,” says peta2 Senior Director Rachelle Owen. “peta2 urges other young people to follow his example, whether that means organizing neighborhood cleanups or fishing for trash in local waterways.”

Balloon litter has become a rampant problem in the Nevada desert, where rabbits, birds, lizards, tortoises, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife could eat them, and small animals could become tangled in their strings. People can help alleviate the problem by never releasing balloons into the air and by picking them up whenever they see them.

peta2—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit peta2.org or follow the group on TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind