Four Elements supports Shark Angels!

*See my profile as a featured angel - http://sharkangels.org/index.php/who-we-are/featured-angels/280-olivia-taylor

Globally connected, Shark Angels around the world are taking action locally, fueled by empowering tools, a collaborative community, and a shared passion. Through positive education, media and grassroots outreach, Shark Angels are changing the future for sharks.

 Watch the below video to see what Shark Angels is all about!

 

 

Since the start, South Africa has been an important place for us to protect. Its our line in the sand and an incredible place for sharks. Southern African waters are still rich with sharks – more species than nearly anywhere else on the planet. Over 200 types swim in these waters – 60 of which can’t be found anywhere in the world. South Africa – unlike most nations – has a beautiful and healthy ocean ecosystem. Most other cities are surrounded by dead zones. Sharks are part of our big 7 – an important tourism income – 17 million rand here and 73 million in the cape. Our children’s futures depend on healthy oceans, which feed and sustain us. We aren’t just protecting sharks, we are protecting the ability for local communities to sustain themselves. We are protecting the future for our children. Monies donated to us fuel just that – and stay in South Africa.

 

Our campaigns involve four critical components which, with your help, will allow Shark Angels to make a huge difference. We are developing an ocean ethos in our children through education and outreach. A traveling shark show that helps kids understand there is nothing extra in nature and to have respect for their home. To empower kids to know they can bring about change whatever their passion. Ground-breaking local research through dna and genetics to determine where and how Shark Angels need to protect sharks – both locally and in surrounding areas. A grassroots removal of the nets campaign – aren’t we all educated enough to realize the days of killing things we are scared of are over? – showing the world sharks are more valuable alive than dead and finally, the creation of shark ambassadors and an army of angels.

By backing Shark Angels, you are enabling all of that. You are protecting not just the sharks – but everything in the oceans – the dolphins, whales, turtles, coral. You are helping local communities. You are empowering children to make a difference and take back their futures. You are giving Shark Angels all the wings to fly. 

Shark Angels - Active Campaigns

 

This year marks the fifth year of Shark Angels efforts around the world. They are a small team (though growing all the time) with large aspirations and are contagiously spreading a message of awareness and celebrate sharks, ensuring their survival. They empower real action and are currently engaged in the following campaigns:

Additionally, they have several different localized campaigns in progress. Shark Angels focuses on wherever they are needed most, often on the last remaining shark strongholds – and where sharks are under threat. Their contacts and knowledge help them get right to the core of each issue. Working closely with local angels, they gather intelligence identifying and documenting the scope of the issues in a variety of means the hopes of bringing about awareness and change. Then they work to create grassroots solutions, with inspired local shark angels, to tackle each challenge -- media playing a key role – turning the tides for sharks in each threatened location.

10 Ways You Can Save Sharks

Earn Your Wings

Become A Cherub!

What are some easy things you can do to save sharks?

 

1)    Join shark angels and get involved locally! We’ll be doing a lot more to help sharks in the coming months. Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch.

2)    Meet a shark – show they are more valuable alive than dead. Join us on one of our shark dives. You don’t need to have your scuba certification and anyone can swim with sharks!

3)    Sign our remove the nets petition.   Then write an email to get the shark nets out of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area. They have no business being in a marine preserve.

4)    Donate! Get your family, friends and neighbors to help. Any amount makes a big difference for sharks.

5)    Increase your Shark IQ! Learn more at the Shark Angels site then stand up for sharks! Correct people’s misconceptions and tell everyone you know about what is happening. Teach other kids. We can give you plenty of materials to do presentations and show videos.

6)    Host a “fin-raiser”. Donate your birthday party to sharks. Have a bake sale. Get creative! Check out what Shark Angel Lily did!

7)    Develop a voice. Write articles and publish in school, local, and national media. Tell people that sharks need protection. Have them take our pledge.

8)    Don’t support stores and restaurants that sell shark products– and vote with your (and your parents) dollars. Ask them to stop selling shark – we can help you with a letter.

9)    Keep your beaches clean. Throw trash in the right place. All that ends up in the ocean. Participate on a beach clean up.

10) Take part in our local “internship”. Contact Shark Angel Jess via angels@sharkangels.org (or another email?) for more details. You can become a shark scientist for a weekend and do some great field work.

11) Make sure you and your parents make smart choices about the fish they eat. Only eat sustainably. Download this guide and keep it in your wallet.

12) Encourage other schools and friends to get involved. Start a local Shark Angels club!

 

The Science of Sharks

 

Many Shark Angels are respected scientists and marine biologists whose work has contributed much to the preservation of sharks and the oceans. In their fifth year, Shark Angels is thrilled to announce a more formal involvement with scientists spearheading important research projects geared towards the conservation of sharks. Their hard work is fundamental to understanding and protecting sharks and they are pleased to be a part of it.

Shark Angels have long contributed to the work of scientists around the world via the collection of data, the provision of logistics and supplies, volunteers, and funding. As an organization, we've also begun formalizing our relationships. Last year, the Shark Angels began sponsoring scientist, Jéssica Escobar-Porras with her work on shark populations – using their DNA to determine range, origination and populations. See below for more details.

Shark Angels has also forged a formal partnership with the Watermen Project, the link between science and the sharks. Freedivers (and Shark Angels) Fred Buyle and William Winram employ their watermen skills to assist well-respected scientists in their critical studies. Using non-invasive and non-harmful methods, the Watermen can place tags on sharks and perform biopsies simply through freediving, rather than removing the shark from the water. The Shark Angels have formed a collaborative outreach, education and joint-campaign partnership with the Watermen.

 

Image by Sijmon deWaal

 

STUDYING SHARK POPULATIONS:
Shark population structure and reproduction, a step closer to their conservation

Meet Jéssica, a Shark Angel and marine biologist from Medellìn, Colombia. She currently lives in Durban, South Africa, where she is doing her PhD studies through the University of KwaZulu-Natal, on shark populations. Simultaneously, she is doing her PhD, on genetic population structure of sharks and its relation to their reproductive strategies; convinced that a live shark is better than a dead one, she is committed to conduct research using non-destructive, non-lethal research techniques.

The Project: Sharks are apex predators that are currently being captured at high rates, and their low reproductive and slow growth rates make them vulnerable to overexploitation. The fished quantities are most likely exceeding their reproductive capacity. Although reproduction strategies and processes are an important factor for designing conservation and management initiatives, shark reproduction is still poorly understood.

As a result, the research project is looking at the relationship between genetic population structures and reproductive strategies present in shark species inhabiting South African waters - with an eye to applying this knowledge world-wide. This will lead to an improvement in the conservation strategies that are employed to protect these marine creatures both locally and globally.

The three species chosen for the study are Ragged-tooth (Carcharias taurus), Blacktip (Carcharhinus limbatus) and Catsharks (Holohalaelurus spp). Tissue samples, from these species, for genetic analysis are obtained from commercial prawn trawlers, Aliwal Shoal field trips and research cruises. Live sharks are sampled with a biopsy gun, which is used underwater, while free-diving. A small tissue plug from the surface epithelium is sampled from sized and sexed individuals, and fin clips are obtained from recreational fishers,trawlers and other scientists. Extraction of DNA from tissue is carried out using commercial kits or standards protocols. Different scales of genetic diversity is assessed by using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is only transferred from the mother, and nuclear DNA.

While the study focuses primarily on the KZN coastal region, samples and information will also be drawn from Madagascar, Reunion, Mozambique and the Western Coast of South Africa.

The results will have a direct bearing on South Africa’s shark populations and their relationship to sharks in the greater Indian Ocean region. Important information about basic biology, life history and population structure will be obtained through this study, which will contribute to the application of conservation and management strategies. We can’t wait for the results and will help promote them – using them to help protect the sharks of Southern Africa and beyond.

 

Image by Fred Buyle

 

The Angel collaborators: In addition to funding and donations in kind from the Shark Angels, an interesting element of this research project is the level of international involvement from various Shark Angel stakeholders in the exploration of an innovative conservation strategy. It truly is a collaborative effort between many different Shark Angels.

The Blacktip shark component of the genetic study is a unique international collaboration between Jéssica, and Shark Angels Mark and Gail Addison. Their company, Blue Wilderness, provides information, logistics, local shark expertise from Blue Wilderness, and aids the project by facilitating field trips and expertise. Additionally, Watermen and Shark Angels, Fred Buyle and William Winram collaborate by offering their unique freediving skills to conduct non-lethal and non-destructive tissue sampling. Shark Angel Olivia Symcox is assisting with funding and press and Jess Vyvyan-Robinson is assisting with outreach.

Similarly, the Catshark component obtained tissues samples facilitated by South Western Indian Ocean Fisheries Program (SWIOFP), and thorough the Nansen research cruises. Partial funding was obtained from Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (Project number: 12253233).

About Scientist and Shark Angel Jéssica Escobar-Porras

Want to Volunteer with Shark Angels and their scientists? Let them know!

 

Shark Angels - Up and coming school programs 

 Above photo taken by Lynne Neilson at Durban Girls' College

 

Shark Angels is in the process of setting up a school youth program that will involve leadership skills and team activites while learning about and exploring the ocean.  There will also be an opportunity to swim with sharks!

 

About Shark Angels

Shark Angels around the world are working independently and as a network of angels to bring about change. Globally connected, they raise awareness to the critical issues, change perspectives, and empower and equip advocates to act locally to save sharks.

Through their collaborative community, positive approach, tools, and shared passion, they are inspiring angels and cherubs around the globe to take action locally and get involved in shark conservation. Hopefully, Shark Angels is starting a finned revolution - with their own version of Charlie inspiring us!

The Shark Angels are inspiring others around the world to take a stand for what they believe in – whether it is on the Internet, in a fishing village in Mozambique, on a beach in South Africa, in a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles, in a classroom in New Zealand or at a market in Indonesia. Angels around the world are coming together, rising above politics and organizational boundaries, to rally behind sharks.

And our positive movement is contagious!

Representing the new generation of conservationists, the Shark Angels believe there are many ways to approach conservation - and they employ many different techniques: youth empowerment, field work, legislation, localized campaigns, undercover investigations, grassroots activism, guerilla marketing, cutting edge science and technology, perspective-changing media, and positive education. They are taking shark conservation into the mainstream, putting a necessary focus on collaboration, and making it movement everyone can, and wants, to join.

"By harnessing the power of the passionate around the world, together, as guardian angels, we can save sharks."