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This week, the nations of the world gathered at the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the U.N. Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and took a major step forward in protecting 18 species of sharks and rays, including mako sharks, wedgefishes, and guitarfishes.
Now special findings and permits will be needed in any country where these species are sold — a significant deterrent to their sale.
In prior CITES COP meetings, shark protection measures were hotly debated, and back in 2010, when I attended CITES and worked to pass such protections, they lost easily. I cannot overstate the significance of this week’s vote — in just ten years, shark protections have gained acceptance globally and the support has come from developed and developing nations in every region. The only disappointment for me is that instead of being on the side shark protection (or leading the effort as we had in the past), the U.S. government opposed it. Fortunately, other governments stepped up, and global environmental groups worked hard to gain support for the proposal.
To celebrate this remarkable achievement, National Geographic’s world-renowned photographer Brian Skerry has allowed us to share with you some of his amazing photos of mako sharks. Can you imagine getting close enough to those teeth to take these pictures? We want to thank Brian for his work on behalf of shark conservation and for allowing us to publish these images. You can check out more of Brian’s amazing photos here, and we recommend you follow him on twitter (@brian_skerry), Instagram (@brianskerry) and on Facebook (click here). Enjoy!
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer Monday, Botswanan officials announced their findings following an investigation into the sudden and mysterious deaths of 356 elephants. The investigation found that neurotoxins caused by an algal bloom in a large rain puddle poisoned the animals. However, many conservationists remain skeptical, largely because the government has yet to release […]
A trio of humpback whales was trapped for a few weeks well inland in an Australian river crawling with crocodiles — something never witnessed before, according to CNN. The whales caused quite a stir — they were stranded in the murky East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park in Australia and could not find their […]
The World Wildlife Fund’s recently released 2020 Living Planet report made one thing clear: the past 50 years have been an unsustainable path for biodiversity. Humans need nature, and the costs of ignoring the staggering loss of global wildlife populations (68% since 1970) are immense for our wellbeing and for that of our planet. To […]
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