As one of the world’s leading organizations actively opposing crimes against marine wildlife today, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is proud to show our support for United Nations (UN)’s World Wildlife Day.
In December 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed March 3 to be “World Wildlife Day,” marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, and declaring that it’s time to get “serious about wildlife crime.”
Since its founding by world-renowned conservationist Captain Paul Watson in 1977, Sea Shepherd has been dedicated to the protection of wild marine species and habitats around the world, remaining active on the frontlines to oppose the poaching and slaughter of marine wildlife and the destruction of ocean habitats. Today Sea Shepherd is more than an organization; it is a global movement in defense of the oceanic eco-systems upon which all life on our planet depends for survival.
All around the world, Sea Shepherd is continuing our mission. As World Wildlife Day nears, we are reflecting on our work to defend marine species. Following are a few highlights of our global efforts for ocean wildlife and eco-systems.
In the Galapagos Islands, Sea Shepherd works in cooperation with the government of Ecuador and the Galapagos National Park Service in their efforts to stop the illegal trafficking of wildlife such as shark fins and to protect marine life and bio-diversity in this sacred and unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among other contributions, Sea Shepherd has provided an AIS system that helps to detect vessels entering and operating within the Galapagos Marine Reserve illegally, and works with Ecuadorian police in support of an elite K9 unit dedicated to detecting wildlife contraband, the first unit of its kind in South America.
Each year along the shores of Taiji, Japan, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian crew of Operation Infinite Patience documents and exposes the trade in live cetaceans taken from the wild for captivity and the inextricably linked slaughter of dolphins and small whales in the infamous cove. Sea Shepherd first exposed this brutal drive hunt to the world in 2003, releasing now iconic images of a blood-red cove and the bodies of slaughtered dolphins being loaded onto skiffs. By documenting and live streaming every capture and every kill of wild dolphins and small whales for the world to see, the Cove Guardians provide a window on Taiji in the hope that caring people both inside and outside of Japan will bring pressure to bear upon Japan to ultimately stop the hunts.
In 2014, Sea Shepherd joined Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) Association for a joint sea turtle anti-poaching campaign, Operation Pacuare. Patrolling the eight-mile stretch of Pacuare Beach in Costa Rica’s Limón province, volunteers detected sea turtle nests and relocated the fragile eggs to guarded hatcheries, protecting the next generations of hawksbill, green and leatherback sea turtles from deadly poachers. Launched in mid-August and running through the peak nesting months to the end of November, Operation Pacuare resulted in the successful release of 2,978 newly hatched sea turtles into the sea. These endangered turtles now have a head start in the race for survival.
In the Faroe Islands, Sea Shepherd actively opposes the ‘grind’, a cruel and archaic mass slaughter of wild pilot whales and other small cetaceans. Operation GrindStop 2014 marked Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroese campaign to date, with hundreds of volunteers patrolling the Faroes by land and by sea over the course of four months, saving the lives of more than 1,000 pilot whales and dolphins.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Sea Shepherd joined Ocean Alliance for the past two summers to form Operation Toxic Gulf, a joint research campaign to determine the long-term impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and resulting use of toxic oil dispersants on marine wildlife in the Gulf by studying one of the eco-system’s apex predators, sperm whales. Findings from the campaign will be used not only to determine ways to help marine species in the Gulf but also to prevent environmental disasters like this from happening again.
What You Can Do:
Sea Shepherd could not do what we do without the generosity and dedication of our supporters and volunteers. We encourage all of you to join us as we take part in the UN’s World Wildlife Day. The survival of oceanic species and eco-systems is critical to all other species on Earth, so let’s raise our voices to make sure they’re heard on this important day for wildlife!
Please post one of these Sea Shepherd’s World Wildlife Day photos on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #SeriousAboutWildlifeCrime, to raise awareness of crimes against marine life and other species and the importance of protecting imperiled wild animals around the world.