Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales

Everyone is familiar with the popular animated Disney movies such as Aladdin, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and throughout these movies there is always a common theme; that the majority of little girls are captivated by being a fairy tale princess. However, I secretly have to admit that I was not so interested in the “princess” part, but rather in the fact that these characters had a special connection with animals. I mean, how cool is it that Snow White could sit in the middle of a forest and miraculously animals of all shapes and sizes come out of the woods to be with her? How Princess Jasmin has a tiger that can understand her thoughts and emotions? Or how Cinderella has birds that helped her get dressed? I have found myself on numerous occasions, thinking I wish I could beckon animals with a song or befriend wild animals like in the fairy tales (which is probably why when I was a little girl, I dressed up in a Princess Jasmine costume to show my rabbit at a 4-H competition).
Now as I sit at the front of the patrol boat on Cocos Island eagerly awaiting the dolphins that sometimes come to play in the boats bubbles, I wish that I could magically translate to them that they are safe with me; that I would protect them; that I can share their world in harmony. I would want them to be my messengers to the entire undersea world and somehow teach them all about how to avoid being captured by fishing hooks. I would not mind staying on the ocean forever (even though I get seasick) if it meant I could save them, keep them company, and receive their trust.  Just enjoying their presence, grace, and friendship would be enough for me.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing only exists in fairytales! Even still, I will try to make a difference and do everything I can to protect the animals that deserve our protection; otherwise it’s possible that in the near future we might only be seeing these magnificent animals in books and fairytales.
"The world can be a terrible place, not because of the bad things that happen, but because of the good people who stand by and let them happen" [Albert Einstein].
by Jessica Robinson

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CITES - What is it, and what do they do? Part 2/2

So, now you're a CITES professional and you know all there is to know about them, right? Maybe! 

CITES will be meeting on March 3-14, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand for their 16th meeting, and during this meeting a variety of amendments and proposals will be discussed and voted on. One of those will be a proposal by Costa Rica, which was also co-sponsored by Programa de Restauracion de Tortugas (PRETOMA), Fundacion Marviva, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and a few others. In September, Costa Rica (along with the others named) brought the initial amendment to light to get Scalloped Hammerheads under Appendix III, and under that Appendix they will receive protection (in at least one country) 90 days after Sept. 25, 2012. Under Appendix III (if you remember from the first blog) any country can unilaterally place a native species in it, no voting needed.

What will happen now is that during the upcoming meeting, the proposal to get Hammerheads protected will be voted on, and if approved (a 2/3 vote is needed) Hammerhead sharks will be placed within Appendix II; which gives them a tremendous amount more protection. If approved, the export of Hammerheads would be regulated in whole, parts and derivatives. Back in 2010 the United States and Palau tried to get Hammerheads protected under Appendix II, but the 2/3 of the votes was not achieved. 

Sea Save would like to attend this upcoming meeting in March. We would like to be there and vote in favor of Hammerheads (of course, along with other animals) but, it's not that easy. Susana Navajas of Sea Save was interviewed earlier last week about this issue and about CITES and sharks. 

Here's the interview:

And, here's a photo of the interview:
Susana Navajas of Sea Save getting interviewed Via Skype.

Now, let's all ask ourselves what we can do - 'what can we do?!'
Let's make a list, shall we?

  1. Check out this blog (Enjoy!)
  2. Spread the blog; Share and make sure to comment!
It's THAT simple! So, let's get to helping to save some sharks!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jessica Robinson - On Location Report

Name: Jessica Robinson
Age: 28
From: Colorado Springs, CO USA
Three and a half years ago, I joined the Peace Corps with the intention of “following my dream” and helping others discover theirs. I was sent to a small and isolated community in Costa Rica where I did everything from teaching English and environmental awareness to building a playground and multiuse basketball court.

When I was given the opportunity to go to Cocos Island, as a volunteer for a month I thought, “Why not?” as I knew my time as a Peace Corps volunteer would soon end and this opportunity was a once-in-a-lifetime offer.
Jessica sits atop buoys harvested from thwarted illegal fishing efforts
Little did I know about Cocos Island… its beauty, its charm, or even its struggles. As anyone who is unfamiliar with a place, I looked it up on Wikipedia and choose to be content with its information. I am going to “the most beautiful place in the world” I was telling my friends, “a protected National Park.” After arriving on the island, taking some time to enjoy its splendor, and spending a few weeks working with the park rangers, I can agree with the statement “one of the most beautiful place in the world,” however; I was completely taken by surprise to learn that this enchanting place was far from being protected. 
Cocos Island is teaching me man I anticipated and now I think, “How could I have spent the entirety of my 28 years unaware of its existence?!” To some, this might sound a bit ignorant, but I believe that I am not alone and I am not the exception. It is a shame really, as Cocos Island is magical and everyday I am surprised by its beauty. It has given me a new knowledge and perspective on life and on conservation. It has provided me with opportunities that are now repaving my future plans, as I am now considering becoming a dive master and studying marine biology and conservation. As I learn more about the island and its beautiful inhabitants below and above the sea, the more I realize the dire need to protect it. At times, we may feel small, powerless and incapable of changing the world, but...
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~Margaret Meade