Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Operation Bleeding Seas Finale!

At the start of the summer I began this new blog and with some help, named my first campaign Operation Bleeding Seas. The summer focused largely on sharks but also expanded into manta rays and whales as well. The campaign was a huge success and I would like to thank you all for reading and helping spread the word about these often times forgotten about issues. With Operation Bleeding Seas coming to a close, there are still a few things that I would like to mention in regards to sharks and manta rays.

When I found out about the plight of manta rays, I was shocked to hear about what was going on. I couldn’t believe that people would be so greedy as to literally hunt down one of the sea’s gentle giants. Awareness of this issue has increased substantially throughout the summer and the “Manta Ray of Hope” movement is starting to take off. There is no legitimate medicinal value to a manta ray. Anything that is said about the health benefits of consuming manta ray gill rakers is nothing more than a very effective scam. Most people will believe anything they hear. They hear gill rakers lead to health benefits, so suddenly gill rakers become a massive industry. It is all hearsay as there is no medical evidence suggesting that gill rakers do anything for human health. What is going on in the Ocean right now is nothing more than an unjustifiable purge of both manta and mobula rays. Neither species of ray are dangerous in the least bit and neither have ever killed a human being. The gill raker trade is still young and unlike the shark fin trade, it is not entrenched in society yet. There is still time, albeit limited time, to cut this trade off before it becomes a part of Eastern Culture and manta and mobula rays are forced to extinction. I will continue to fight for these rays throughout the winter, though the number of blogs may be few, rest assure, when the time is right I will voice my opinions to you all. To wrap up my manta and mobula ray portion of the campaign, here are some beautiful pictures of these gentle creatures. Remember, manta rays reproduce incredibly slowly and some only give birth to one pup in their entire lives and in that can be found the truth as to why we simply cannot go out there and destroy their populations.

The main topic of this season’s campaign was sharks. When it comes to animals, sharks are my number 1 thing and if you were unable to tell that from this blog, then I don’t really know what to tell you. Sharks are one of, if not the most important animals in the Ocean. Without sharks the Oceans are going to be in a TON of trouble. Though Hollywood and the media continue to instill fear into the hearts of millions, people are starting to see the truth about these animals. Sharks will continue to be at the forefront of my future campaigns as the race to save these animals rages on. The summer of 2012 saw several people in Australia be killed by sharks. The victims were surfers who really were at the wrong place at the wrong time (surfing near seals at dawn/dusk). Australia is continuing to debate calling for a cull of white sharks in the area while other parts of the world seek to have the white shark officially placed on the endangered species list. The thing a lot of people continue to fail to realize though is that it is not just white sharks that are in trouble. Shark finning and long line fishing are both indiscriminant. If there are fins on shark, then that is cash in the fisherman’s pocket and one less “monster” in the world. Here are some amazing photos of how sharks DESERVE to be! Remember, much like manta rays, sharks reproduce slowly and give birth to few young. This makes these animals incredibly vulnerable to overfishing. Every year over 100,000,000 are killed solely for their fins.

So what is next for me? Looking forward, the next campaign will start right after Labor Day. The focus of this campaign will once again be sharks, but they will be joined by both dolphins and whales as the main focuses of the campaign. In this upcoming campaign I will continue to voice my views and try to educate you all  on some of the forgotten or hidden horrors of the world. I will dive deep into the heart of Taiji, Japan and uncover the truth behind the mysterious "Cove". I will follow Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's campaign to the Southern Ocean to defend the whales as well as other whaling related issues around the world. I will also continue to spread the truth about the mysterious creature known as a shark and continue to spread the word about the horrific practice of finning. I will also be doing occasional blogs on seals and manta rays as well. Operation Bleeding Seas has now come to an end. Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for reading and do hope you will join me on September 4th for the first blog of Operation Sadistic Truths. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

There's a Hammer in the Soup?

Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in China, but the soup is not exclusively served in that country. Honk Kong remains the largest importer of shark fins in the world, but the soup can easily be found in the United States. Shark finning itself is illegal in United States territorial waters, but fins are still easily bought into the country. What a lot of people don't realize is just where the fins are coming from and what species of shark are being killed the most. First though, it is important to know just what shark fin soup is before learning what goes into making it. Shark fin soup is incredibly easy to make, but has major drawbacks... What you need to make the soup is....

Chicken or Beef flavored soup
Shark fins
Whatever seasonings and spices you wish to add for extra flavor

Notice that the soup itself and the seasonings add flavor to the soup, but there is nothing next to shark fins. Here is what shark fins do for shark fin soup.

Adds a gelatinous texture
Adds a heavy dose of Mercury
Adds no flavor
Adds no nutritional value

As you can easily see, the sharks fins realistically do nothing for the soup outside of adding an unneeded texture to the soup. Of course the need for fins is realistically unnecessary. Some of the world's most famous and endangered species of shark fall victim to the brutal practice of shark finning on a daily basis. Included in this list of sharks are the...

Great Hammerhead
Scalloped Hammerhead
Great White Shark
Tiger Shark
Sand Tiger Shark
Bull Shark
Lemon Shark
Blue Shark
Shortfin Mako Shark
Whale Shark
Sandbar Shark
Blacktip Shark
Oceanic Whitetip Shark

The list goes on and on. Each and every one of the named species are currently threatened with extinction. The Great and Scalloped Hammerheads are currently listed as full blown Endangered Species on the IUCN's Red List, while the Great White Shark, Whale Shark, Sandbar Shark, and Sand Tiger Shark are all listed as Vulnerable to extinction. Meaning these sharks are also at an elevated risk of extinction.

Shark fin soup is sold in the USA as well as many other countries around the world. One of the big problems that restaurants face is just what species of shark are being used in the soup. When the fins arrive, they have been dried out and look very similar. In a recent survey conducted by people who were attacked by sharks, but are now fighting to save sharks, in conjunction with Discovery Channel, PEW Environmental Group, and Stony Brook University found that many of the samples contained endangered species! Meaning Great and Scalloped Hammerheads.

Hammerhead Sharks are some of the most endangered species in the world. Their populations have been totally decimated and are in severe jeopardy of never recovering. Hammerhead populations worldwide are continuing to decrease at an alarming rate. Even around the famous Cocos Islands, Hammerhead populations are at an all time low. The primary reason these sharks are killed is strictly for their fins. However they also fall victim to long lines. Often times when these animals get hooked they will fight to unhook themselves and wind up getting entangled in the line and drown. This particular problem is not exclusive to Hammerheads and includes various species of shark, fish, sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds. For a species that is in such a crisis as Hammerheads though, long lines pose a massive threat.

Hammerhead sharks are by far one of nature's most interesting animals due to their heads that are oddly enough, shaped like a hammer. They have captivated the imagination of both children and adults around the world and have become one of the most popular species of shark on Earth. Now though it seems that their time on this planet may be coming to an end forever. After all, how can an animal that looks like this...

not bring up any kind of question in a person's head? Hammerheads are beautiful creatures and have a very complex social life as well. Want proof? Check out this photo...

Scalloped Hammerhead sharks schooling together is one of the most interesting phenoms that exist on this planet. These sharks that can get to be quite large in size go from being solitary creatures, to being incredible social creatures seemingly overnight.

Hammerhead shark populations have decreased by a massive 99%! They need our help now more than ever. If you live along the East Coast of the United States, up to New York, odds are these sharks have swam by your very own beaches. In over 400 years, there have been a grand total of 2 shark attacks attributed to Scalloped and Great Hammerheads combined. Just 2 attacks. Neither were fatal and both were provoked. The moral is that Hammerhead Sharks have never killed a single human being. Yet man kills millions and millions of these sharks every year. How is it fair or even possible for and to ruthlessly hunt down these amazing creatures? Protection is needed NOW for these sharks. Every day that passes by, more of these sharks are being killed. If we do not act NOW. This will be the fate of every last Hammerhead Shark on Earth.

Please help save these amazing creatures! All it takes is one person alerting another to what is going on to create something amazing! It is not too late to save the Hammerheads, but time is running out, the time to act for all sharks is NOW!!!!!! For more information on other ways you can help save sharks visit...


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

He's Got Lifeless Eyes... Black Eyes

Whale Shark

White Shark

Grey Reef Shark

Lemon Shark

Hammerhead Shark

So I started off this blog with some pictures of shark eyes. Something that has been bugging me as of late is the fact that so many people believe what the title of this blog says. That sharks have lifeless black eyes. This blog isn't going to be so much about conservation as much as it is about realizing something about these creatures. If you have a dog, cat, lizard, rabbit, turtle, rat, fish, whatever take a good look at it's eyes. Eyes that look full of life. Look again at the eyes of these sharks. Do they look lifeless? Do they look like the eyes of a monster? Shark eyes are so far from lifeless that calling them lifeless is like saying your dog or cat's eyes have no life in them. Take a good look at the eye of the white shark (AKA: the Great White Shark). Notice that the eye is not just black. There is a dark blue pupil within. Take a look at the eyes of the grey reef, lemon, whale, and hammerhead sharks. Notice that around their pupils are some brilliant colors. Not only are the colors of the eyes of these animals beautiful... They can see in color! Cones and rods are both present in the eyes of many sharks, just like in our very own eyes.

Many sharks have a special adaptation when it comes to protecting their eyes. They have a nictating membrane that allows covers the eye of the shark, preventing anything from getting caught in them. Other species of shark, like the white shark are able to roll their eyes into the back of their head to prevent damage while feeding. Much like our very own eyes, the pupils of sharks are actually able to dilate and shrink! Just like our eyes, when light goes into the eye, the pupil shrinks. When it gets dark the pupil gets bigger. 

The moral of this blog is that sharks are far more than meets the eye. These animals are incredibly complex and there is still so much that we do not know about them. The days of sharks being being called lifeless monsters really needs to come to an end. Most people will never see a shark in their entire lives. The vast majority know what a shark is from television and literature. They hear that these animals are basically mindless robots with one goal, eating. Until you see a shark in real life, it is easy to believe what you hear and see in the media. These photos are the closest thing to seeing a real shark eye up close as you can get. Still though, it does not compare to the amount of life that you will see if you ever get the privileged opportunity to see a shark close up.

 Sharks are so vital to the health of the Oceans that the loss of them will be the loss of us all. Major problems that these animals face include finning and long line fishing. Both lead to overfishing. Overfishing leads to extinction. Extinction leads to the end of the Ocean. The end of the Ocean leads to the end of life on land. Humans know so little about these creatures, yet they have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. It is not their time to go extinct, but unless more is done to protect them, the Earth is in grave danger of losing some of it's oldest and most important residents.   

Friday, August 3, 2012

Vacation August 5th-August 12th, 2012

I will be on vacation from August 5th-August 12th, so there will be no blog postings unless something major happens during the week. I hope you all have a great week and thank you again for reading!