For several months I've been working with a group of students at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies on the Shark Stanley campaign to advocate for shark protections at the upcoming Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We came up with the idea of a photo petition where instead of signing an online petition, our supporters would send in photos of themselves holding a paper shark named Shark Stanley. The goal of the campaign is to convince governments attending CITES to vote yes on the shark and manta ray proposals this year by showing them photos of supporters from their countries, as well as photos from around the world. To date Shark Stanley has been to 112 countries (we got photos in from Mozambique last night).
The campaign was highlighted at a symposium at Yale over the weekend. The students who organized the event will have videos, photos, and other materials in the coming days and I will post them here and on Shark Defenders.
I don't want to scoop anyone (either my employer or the students), so I won't post all my photos, but I do want to post this one. This is the team that created and distributed Shark Stanley (plus a few of my coworkers who didn't attend the event, of course). From left to right: Stephanie, Jeff, Ben, Onon, Leah, me, Dan, Monte, Omar, and Laura.
And none of this would have been possible without the love and support of my better third, Edz. Edz came up for the whole weekend, including a stop at the United Nations to meet some of our friends there and a day at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk to do outreach.
I'm flying to Bangkok a week from Thursday. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome.