People who know me in real life know I’m a sucker for sharks. I don’t really like swimming with them, but I recognize their greatness and value their place in the ecosystem. I don’t approve of shark hunting or shark fin soup. I actually boycotted “Bizarre Foods” Andrew Zimmern from Travel Channel after he featured Shark Fin soup on his China episode. I almost cried one day when we were down at the coast and a friend opened his esky (cooler) and he had 5 baby sharks inside. I gave him a long lecture, at which point Matt said to him, I told you not to let her see them! and then I was not feeling bad for him when the Parks and Wildlife ranger came along and gave him tickets for having them.
I had always had a healthy respect for sharks, but it wasn’t till I went to Hatteras to film for Going Down that I truly learnt to love sharks. David Ulloa, the other half of Going Down is so passionate about sharks. He talks about them like they’re little puppies. He explained how they’re not really aggressive. They’re just like dogs. They’re curious. They come and check you out and then they’ll give clues before they bite you. Which they actually rarely do. Think of how much underwater footage you see of sharks. There’s a cameraman down there filming. He’s not getting bit. Neither are his safety divers.
Sharks get a bad wrap. If you walked into the middle of the African jungle and get eaten by a tiger, people don’t all band together and go hunt down the tiger. Yet, if someone is swimming in the middle of the ocean and gets bit by a shark, there’s a lynch mob just itching to go shark hunting. It’s crazy. Sharks keep the ecology of the ocean in balance. They’re a vital element in the ecosystem. They’re also beautiful to watch and should be admired for having been around for so long without really changing over the past few thousand years.
So now David has found a new way to help save the sharks. He’s combined his favourite things, Scuba, Sharks and Racing, and is now going to be “Team Shark Whisperer” in the Formula H2O racing series.
Basically, they take underwater scooters and race around artificial reefs. Sounds awesome! I’ll be keeping up with his adventures and posting updates on Going Down, so you can check it out there.
David will be racing to give attention and all winnings to educational organizations and conservation groups. This year he will be working with Shark Savers and the JR Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. http://www.sharksavers.org/ http://www.rjd.miami.edu/ Both are wonderful organizations that work to educate and inform the public about the importance of sharks in our aquatic ecosystem. He will also be creating a website at http://www.racingtohelpsharks.com in the next day or two.
Here’s wishing David best of luck with the race. I hope he can change a lot of people’s opinions about sharks and make them see them for the beautiful creatures that they are.
2 Replies to “Saving the sharks”
Dear darling Sarah,
I’m so glad that sharks and their important role in the ecosystem have made an impact on you and inspired you to follow some conservation causes. I agree that it’s unacceptable for society to target sharks in a certain way and create prejudices against them. Of course people spend a lot of time underwater and yeah, they would know of the risks they put themselves against, as you would know yourself from diving.
I am so ‘rapt’ that you have boycotted even a show because of the presenter’s inclusion of shark fin soup. Not enough people show concern for the loss of shark lives and the devastation that occurs to them. I support Sea Shepherd, who work in the Galapagos ongoingly and clamp down on illegal shark-finning over there, with the amazing co-operation of the National Park rangers. They’ve had ‘Whale Wars’ screened in the US, a doco which is about their work in the Antarctic and have numerous high-profile supporters from the US, Europe and Australia supporting their work and campaigns.
Maybe Sarah you could support Sea Shepherd and the sharks in the Galapagos or just in general? They fight for ocean wildlife in a number of campaigns. I would imagine filming some of your work in the Galapagos or Canada could be a tempting idea for you, like diving or rugging up in the ice and at least sharing that with your mates?!
Thank you so much for caring about sharks and developing an affection for these truly amazing creatures.
Let me also commend you for your bravery in finally but not to late with it, sharing with the public your stories of abuse when your lived here and reporting it to the police. It’s good that you did this when you felt ready and could have the support of former cast around you too. It’s so generous of you to become a patron of a couple of causes down here. I’m sure your story and the proceedings going on about the abuse have made people more aware of children’s vulnerability, and of the organizations working hard to raise awareness of the issue and helping children and their families. It is terrible what happened to you but damnit I hope justice may prevail in due time for your case. I hope it wasn’t too bad for you when on ACA/Today Tonight they showed a photo of you and the cast of which you and your cast-mate hadn’t seen before, with poor you covering your lap with a magazine while being so uncomfortable. I hope they could’ve given a copy of that photo, because that would so easily help your case!!
All the best with your projects and causes, and with the case being investigated Down Under.
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