Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shark Stanley is headed to Bangkok and he’s bringing friends from 115 countries with him

In the world of shark conservation petitions, one stands out from all the rest. A photo petition that relies on the power of social media to reach across international borders, the Shark Stanley campaign asks supporters of shark conservation to take photos of themselves holding one of the characters from The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends, a children’s book written by Yale students Leah Meth and Ben Goldfarb, and to post them to social networking websites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram tagged with #SharkStanley.

“The number of photos we received in the beginning was slow,” explained Leah Meth, Shark Stanley Campaign co-Director. “It took a few weeks for the concept to catch on, but now they are pouring in. Just last night we received 100 photos from Mexico.”

Launched only two months ago, the organizers of the campaign have received tens of thousands of images from people living in 115 countries.

“We’re going to present the photos to the country representatives at CITES,” said Onon Bayasgalan, Shark Stanley Campaign co-Director. “We want to show countries they have support for shark protections from their own citizens, plus from other citizens across the globe.

The campaign is the brainchild of Meth and Bayasgalan, both students at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. They are leading a team of graduate-level volunteers studying the arts, science, environment, and new media to collaborate with NGOs and dive shops to collect photos. The photos are being compiled into a photo petition which the students say will represent the face of the youth of the world calling for greater shark protections. The petition will be released on the first day of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species on March 3, 2013.

Image courtesy of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends