By Dave Sigworth, publicist of The Maritime Aquarium
We don’t mean to keep repeating ourselves but we’re back today on the topic of sharks and how the populations of many shark species around the world are perilously low.
Sharks, of course, are among the top (or apex) predators in the oceans. But the oceans lose millions of sharks each year to the by-catch of commercial fishing, shark finning and sport fishing. Habitat loss contributes too. Exact numbers aren’t known but the best estimate is somewhere between 26 and 73 million sharks per year.
This is troubling for two reasons: 1) taking predators out of a habitat throws the natural balance of things out of whack, and 2), at this rate, we’re in danger of some species disappearing altogether.
Daily through Feb. 24, The Maritime Aquarium is offering you a chance to join us in going “Shark Raving Mad” – mad, because we’re mad (or crazy) about sharks; but also mad because we’re mad about what’s happening to sharks.
Special offerings each day include stations where Aquarium educators will help you to learn more about sharks, shark adaptations and threats to sharks. Kids can make a fun shark hat. At 12:15 & 3:15 p.m. daily, a 40-minute bonus “add-on” programs about sharks will culminate with each participant feeding the animals in the Shark & Ray Touch Pool. (There’s an additional cost for that of $30 in addition to admission. Reservations are suggested.)
There’s one more thing that visitors can do to help sharks – and, if you can’t join us at the Aquarium, you can still do it from home very easily: create a “Shark Stanley” that will be displayed with thousands of others from around the world in hopes of influencing CITES delegates in Bangkok next month when they meet to consider protections for sharks and rays. (CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.)
Here’s all you need to do: Click on this link for “Shark Stanley”: http://goo.gl/pE38W
Download it and print it out. Cut out “Shark Stanley” and take a photo of you with it. Then email the photo with your name and nationality to email@example.com.
Simple as that. They’re hoping to collect 5,000 photos from all 176 CITES countries.
This is just one effort being made to help sharks by Shark Defenders. There’s also a big shark symposium at Yale University on Friday (Feb. 15).
Oh and one more thing: on Saturday & Monday (Feb. 16 & 18) as part of our “Shark Raving Mad” offerings, kids at The Maritime Aquarium can gather around for readings of the book, “The Adventures of Shark Stanley & Friends.” Can’t make it? Download the story and learn more about this effort to save sharks at www.sharkdefenders.com/p/shark-stanley.html.