Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shark Stanley Goes to China

Shark Stanley was created to be used as a tool to engage the youth of the world to advocate for shark protections at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, in 2013.  That campaign reached more than 10,000 people in 135 countries and resulted in the passage of all shark and ray proposals.  Manta rays, hammerhead, porbeagle, and oceanic whitetip sharks all received protections.  Countries now have the tools to implement those protections and they are working.

Over the last several weeks we have leaked previews of the new Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends, where they travel around the world to advocate for the creation of new shark sanctuaries, huge swaths of ocean where sharks are protected.

We have quietly been making plans for Shark Stanley to head to China, too.  In the global version of the book, Shark Stanley meets a pair of kids who learn about the importance of sharks.  One of the benefits of sharks is ecotourism.

The Chinese version of the book introduces a family on holiday on the island with the first two children.  The family has two kids, who meet up with the island kids and the four of them team up to protect sharks.

The island kids take the visiting kids from island to island to protect sharks.  Shark Stanley is all about making connections between islands, so it is fitting that islanders are also connecting to kids in China.

Eventually the visiting kids hop on an airplane and fly home.  The island kids continue their quest to create shark sanctuaries, but the Chinese kids have a different task.

When the kids get back to China they go to a wedding where shark fin is served.  The young kids tell their older relatives about the importance of sharks and why we need to protect them.  The older generation is excited to hear from the younger, and they agree to a shark fin free wedding.

But its not enough, so the family starts to campaign for shark protections and consumer demand reductions in China.

The Chinese version of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends will be released in China next month.  Ocean Ambassador Sylvia Earle will be handing out books to decision makers and other important people.  We'll make the Chinese version available online in the coming days.

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