We’d like to introduce you to Shark Stanley and his friends Manta Reina, Pierre le Porbeagle, and Waqi Whitetip, who now are traveling around the world to find people who will support shark and manta ray protection at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in March in Bangkok, Thailand. With 176 member countries, this multilateral agreement protects more than 30,000 species globally (including species of dolphins, turtles, and corals) and plays a powerful and key role in preventing extinction of many plants and animals by ensuring sustainable rates of trade.
Sharks and rays are extremely important to local tourism. Studies show that they are much more valuable alive and in the sea than dead. Much to our frustration, shark fishery is still legal in the Philippines, with the sole exception of the whale shark. It is highly unregulated too. Manta rays are protected (FAO 193) but they’re still fished in many parts in the Philippines, including Bohol, Surigao, and Leyte. Watch this video by Born to be Wild to find out more.
If you would like to help these species, you can print a picture of Shark Stanley, Manta Reina, Pierre le Porbeagle, and Waqi Whitetip, cut them out, and take a photo with them anywhere you wish. Then send it to us, along with your name and where you are from. Shark Stanley’s friends at Shark Defenders will compile photos according to country in compelling visual mosaics, send to all 176 representatives, and display them at the CITES meeting.
1) Get to know the characters better.
- The Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (found in Cabilao Island, Bohol) is one of the most iconic and endangered shark species with some of the most valuable fins in the market
- Hammerheads often aggregate, making them even more vulnerable to overfishing
- Listed as Endangered globally on the IUCN Red List
- Oceanic and Reef Manta Rays (found in Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, etc.) are listed as Vulnerable globally. Some populations have declined by as much as 85%.
- Targeted in recent years for an emerging international market for their gill rakers, which they use to filter plankton. Gill rakers are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Has the biggest brain of all 32,000 species of fish
- Divers from all over the world bring in over US$100 million every year from tourism revenues. On the other hand, the gill raker trade is valued at only US$11 million per year. The value of one live manta ray throughout its whole lifetime is US$1 million.
- The Porbeagle Shark is a large, warm-blooded temperate water shark targeted for both its large fins and meat.
- The IUCN Red List classifies them as vulnerable globally and critically endangered in parts of their range. Their populations have been reduced by around 70%.
- One of the fish species known to be playful. Humans have sometimes seen them rolling around in kelp fronds and wrapping themselves up.
- The Oceanic Whitetip Shark (found in Cebu, Palawan, etc.) is an open ocean species with large, highly valued fins
- Critically Endangered in parts of it range and Vulnerable globally. A recent estimated a population decline of 70% between 1992 and 2000.
- Sometimes seen to hang around pilot whales, swimming around in their big pods. Scientists think this is because the whales help them find squid to eat when they dive to forage.
2) Upload your photos to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram tagged with @SharkDefenders, #SharkStanley, @SavePHSeas and #Philippines
3) Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for them to compile into a unique petition.
4) Work with kids! If you work with kids in schools, aquariums, museums (wherever!), Shark Defenders will provide their activity booklet for free or help you to design a workshop on shark conservation.
5) Be a partner. If your organization would like to partner with Shark Stanley at CITES, write a story about it on your blog or website with a link to this page, then email your logo and five photos of your friends with Shark Stanley to email@example.com. They’ll post your logo and link to your website on a special sponsors’ page.