Target: Department of Environment and Conservation’s Species and Communities Branch Manager Dr. Ken Atkins
Goal: Keep endangered great white sharks on the protected species list.
A small spike in great white shark attacks off the coast of Western Australia has led the state to consider removing the animal from the endangered species list. Great white populations have dropped by 90 percent in the last two decades, and are now estimated to be more endangered than tigers. Western Australia must maintain the protected status of this increasingly rare species.
Five fatal great white attacks in the past year have inspired the negative press in Australia. The heightened number of attacks coincides with a recent increase in extreme sports and surfing, conservationists say, and is merely a product of more people placing themselves at risk. The idea that we should expose a dwindling species to commercial fishing in order to make the ocean a safer place is preposterous. The ocean is home to many natural predators, and thrill-seekers who choose to navigate these waters are aware of the risks they’re taking. Furthermore, Australia has implemented a tagging system that notifies public beaches when great whites are nearby, increasing the safety of the public without harming marine life. This solution is an appropriate alternative to removal of the shark’s protected status.
By signing the petition below, you can ask the Department of Environment and Conservation’s Species and Communities Branch Manager Dr. Ken Atkins to keep the great white shark on Western Australia’s protected species list.
Dear Dr. Atkins,
Great white sharks are now considered to be more endangered than tigers, and the numbers continue to dwindle as fisherman illegally target their fins and meat. In spite of this, Western Australia has considered removing the species from the endangered list in response to the recent spike in shark attacks. While it is tragic that lives have been lost in this manner, exposing these sharks to commercial fishing is not the right solution. Their populations have fallen by 90 percent in the last two decades, and only protective measures have kept them from extinction.
The idea that we could make the world’s oceans a safer place by removing certain animals is extremely misguided. The ocean is home to many natural predators, and thrill-seekers who choose to navigate these waters are aware of the risks they’re taking. In fact, the recent spikes in shark attacks have been shown to coincide with increased extreme sports and surfing activity, suggesting that the real issue here is a greater number of risks being taken. Please don’t further endanger this ancient species. The great white shark must remain a specially protected animal.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: hermanusbackpackers via Flickr.