Of approximately 450 shark species, about 250 are included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
. Of those that have been assessed by the Red List, a little over 60 are classified as threatened. That means they are classified as either Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered.
As the most comprehensive database of species that we have, the Red List is also known as the Barometer of Life because we can use it for so many purposes that it can give us a good insight into the health of individual as well as groups of species.
With sharks and rays much work remains to be done to know just how healthy or threatened are certain species and indeed to get a good overview of sharks in general. That requires investment and time just as much as front-line conservation work does as well.
But as we see with Mantas and Hammerheads especially - it is well worth it - even if just measuring that in tourist dollars. But the memories and inspiration such amazing species provide to those who see them, up close or even in photos such as the one above are priceless. So conserving our natural heritage makes sense for the head and the heart.
Sharks were first included in Appendix II of CITES
in February 2003, after the Conference of the Parties to CITES decided to include the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus
) and whale shark (Rhincodon typus
) in Appendix II. The Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was also added to Appendix II in 2005. Furthermore, all species of sawfishes are listed in Appendix I.
Thank you once again for supporting this celebration of many people's hard work to improve the survival prospects for some of the most vulnerable wildlife in the oceans through enhanced regulation. Of course we need both top-down and bottom-up efforts to make lasting positive change and this Thunderclap is a nod to the power of the groundswell.
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Sammy the Shark and Marilyn the Manta