April 2010

Stefanie Brendl and the fight against shark finning

2010-Apr-22   ::   (0 comments)

Shark fin soup advertising

Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawaii. The shark is the top of the food chain in the world's oceans. Every year over one hundred million sharks are being killed by cutting off their fins alive. Then they are thrown back into the water where they die a slow and gruesome death. Especially in Hong Kong and Singapore the shark fin-soup is regarded as a status symbol and a delicacy. In the media, sharks are often falsely pictured as men-eating monsters. However, the shark as apex predator has an essential role in the ecosystem. By eating injured, sick and weak fish he keeps the fish populations clean and healthy.

Nowadays there are many people speaking out against this unspeakably cruel practice and try to establish a worldwide lobby for the sharks as well as laws prohibiting shark finning. Stefanie Brendl works in Hawaii to educate the public and to push the introduction of a comprehensive law to protect the sharks from this torture. In the next few days we will be visiting her to better understand her work and its greater impact.

The interview can be read here. Get more info about Stefanie's work here.

The Cove - The Movie

2010-Apr-16   ::   (0 comments)

The Cove cover

Yesterday we watched the movie The Cove and couldn't help asking ourselves where so much hate and ignorance come from. How can the beauty and uniqueness of life itself be ignored so often? Where is the love for everything alive, for the sacred, for ourselves?

We think it is such an important movie, showing how a former dolphin trainer, two free divers and a couple of movie and sound specialists stand up for their love for animals, speak out and educate. In The Cove these committed people show how passionately they defend the treasures of our oceans with no violence, risking their own lives. They uncover the barbaric secret of a small Japanese village and show how Japan is trying to defend their right to cruelly kill thousands of whales and dolphins by heinous corruption. The movie unfolds like a thriller and documents what is still happening every year on the coast of Japan. Thanks to this movie a lot has already been achieved, like the meat of those highly sensitive and intelligent animals being taken off children's school menus.

Watch it if you haven't seen it. Here you can speak up against the senseless slaughter of more than 23,000 dolphins every year.

Zero-tolerance conservation

2010-Apr-8   ::   (0 comments)

Whale Shark

Ningaloo Marine Park, Exmouth, Western Australia. One of our biggest dreams comes true as we actually swim with the biggest fish on earth, the huge but harmless, plankton feeding whaleshark.

On our search for nature's wonders and how they can be preserved, we visit one of Australia's countless conservation areas. The Ningaloo Marine Park protects Australia's largest fringing reef system. The shallow lagoons formed by the reef, and the deeper offshore waters, create a diverse array of habitats for a multitude of colorful corals and more than 500 species of fish and many other creatures like turtles, dugongs, dolphins, manta rays and humpback whales. Ningaloo includes many sanctuary zones that are “look but don't take” zones. On a stroll on the beach one morning we can witness what such rigorous protection can achieve. From the beach we get to see dolphins, four turtles, a shovel nose shark and many small reef sharks and blue spotted ribbontail rays, all within a few minutes.

On the following day we had the great privilege to swim with the amazing whale sharks. Just below the surface of the ocean they swim along gently, seemingly unaware of our presence. These fish swim thousands of kilometers and return every year in April to the coral spawning to the West coast of Australia. Here, these beautiful creatures are safe and protected, but in India, Indonesia or the Philippines they are still slaughtered for their fins and meat. Nobody knows their exact travelling routes or how many of them still exist.

To be able to better protect the whale sharks, the scientists have to understand better where they go after West Australia, in order to protect them along the route. To support this work we choose an operator for our adventure that donates 5% of their income to research and protection efforts.

This is yet another example how tourism can help to ensure the protection of threatened wildlife for future generations.