THE MANAGEMENT OF SHARKS – Conserve Through Trade


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Sharks – Key facts

Sharks have swum the oceans for around 250 million years, residing at the top of the marine food chain. Their only known predators are other sharks and man.

Nearly 400 shark species exist, covering most parts of the world. Among the largest are the whale shark, which can grow to a length of 50 feet (15 meters), and the basking shark at 42 feet (13 meters). The great white can grow to a length of around 25 feet (7.5 meters).

The tiger shark, one of the most feared species, can grow to 20 feet (6 meters) and will eat almost anything. The mako shark measures up to 14 feet (4 meters) and can travel at speeds of 45 mph (72 kmph).

Of the hundreds of millions of sharks in the oceans, many migrate great distances due to climatic, food and environmental factors.

Sharks eat seals, sea lions, bottlenose dolphins and small cetaceans, elephant seals, porpoises, turtles, tuna and other fish, as well as other sharks.

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Wildlife Conservation Society

In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.