~ U.S. gov't agent counts confiscated shark fins.
Shark fin is a Chinese delicacy used to make shark-fin soup, a dish that dates back to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644); see acclaimed film director Ang Lee's explanation, click here. As Chinese incomes grew in the past decades, demand for this expensive luxury has risen dramatically. As a result, about 73 million sharks are killed each year exclusively for their fins. In the last 15 years, some shark species have declined by as much as 98%, click here. This is not just about the extinction of certain species of sharks; this is about the destruction of the entire ecological balance of the oceans.
Also, read our earlier article about another endangered fish, the majestic bluefin tuna: "Bluefin Tuna Sold For $1.7 Million!"
~ What would happen if sharks disappeared?
In August, WildAid, an international organization devoted to ending the illegal wildlife trade, reported that sales of shark fin in China has dropped by as much as 70%. And in the City of Guangzhou (famous worldwide for its Cantonese cuisine and China's top center of the shark fin trade), sales of shark fin has dropped by 82%. Another world center in the trade, Hong Kong, also reported of a steep drop in the shark fin business earlier this year, click here. Also, in a recent survey conducted by WildAid, 85% of Chinese consumers in certain markets have said they have quit shark fin soup, click here.
These promising developments are primarily due to the education of the Chinese public by conservation groups that have utilized Chinese celebrities such as basketball star Yao Ming and movie star Jackie Chan to spread the word, click here.
~ Shark fin soup is no longer fashionable.
In addition, as a policy against extravagance, the Chinese government in 2012 banned the serving of shark fin (and other exotic-animal products) at all government functions, click here. However, if the situation for the shark continues to deteriorate, it's possible that the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party might just ban the consumption of shark fin for everyone altogether. Wildlife conservation groups are already lobbying the Chinese government to do just that now. But no matter how you look at it, while this drop in the sales of shark fin might be a bit of good news, there is still a lot of work to do for wildlife conservationists in this regard.
~ China's insatiable demand for animal parts.
On the other fronts, Chinese demand is still the major source of the problem for countless other endangered animals, from the elephant to the rhino to the tiger and so on. It's an issue of culture. China is an ancient society that has thousands of years of tradition in regard to arts and crafts (ivory) and traditional Chinese medicine (tiger penis, rhino horn, bear gall bladder, etc.). There is considerable doubt that these remedies in Chinese medicine have any validity at all. The breadth and scope of the problem is so great that we can hardly scratch the surface in this article. Please read our earlier article about the rhino horn and its uses in Chinese medicine: "Prince William Attacks Rhino Poachers"
And neither can the Chinese government control the illegal trafficking of animal parts in a meaningful way – regardless of how autocratic and ubiquitous it is (before 1997, some poachers have received life sentences and the death penalty; now it's up to 20 years in prison, which is still harsh but ineffective nonetheless). As with the shark fin example above, the true power to stop this problem lies in the ability to change the attitudes of the people themselves. Reducing demand is more than half the battle here; poaching will stop by itself if there is no demand.
~ Cyber activism.
With the Internet, we can now make cyber-friends all over the world – modern day penpals. And social networking is a powerful tool for online activism. That ONE person you are discussing or debating with in a blog or chatroom includes dozens of other people whom you are unaware of but are reading what you are writing with interest.
In order to save wildlife or the environment, FrogBook.com invites all our readers to communicate with your international cyber-friends through rigorous debate, shameless begging, tasteful cajoling, and blunt criticism (but don't be rude or use profanity – don't get personal – be professional). Never lie or exaggerate. In the age of the Internet, people can check your claims with a click of a key. Once you lose your credibility, you'll never be able to convince that cyber-friend or anyone else of anything again.
~ Integrity and transparency are very important to your cause.
Also, your reputation for honesty and rigor is very important (your assertions must be supported by science). So research your facts carefully and make sure to use only reputable sources. And always attach exhibits or evidence to your argument in the form of links to shore up your position. Out of pride, your counterpart may not admit to you that he or she is convinced (and sometimes people need to sleep on it); but the truth is the truth and once you have rested your case, your job is done and you should move on to the next person. Don't forget, your true target are the OTHER READERS!!
Read our earlier article about ethical issues and charities: "CNN Calls SPCA International A Scam." Also, read about how the anti-vaccination movement misrepresented the truth: "Unvaccinated Kids Banned In NYC Schools."
UPDATE: New Vegan Video Causes Controversy
(October 22, 2014) Read our article about veganism and the vegetarian diet, click here.
For related articles in the Frog Blog:
- New Vegan Video Causes Controversy Click here.
- Asian Carps: Barbarians At The Gate! Click here.
- "Let The Panda Die Out": Wildlife Expert Click here.
- Escaped Python Kills Two Boys Click here.
- Film: Blackfish Exposes SeaWorld Cruelty Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For $1.7 Million! Click here.
- Justin Bieber Attacked Over His Monkey Click here.
- Moron Lets Infant Play With A Gorilla Click here.
- CNN Calls SPCA International A Scam Click here.
- Prince William Attacks Rhino Poachers Click here.
- Exotic Animals To Return To Zanesville! Click here.
- Bluefin Tuna Sold For A Record $736,000 Click here.
- 50 Exotic/Rare Animals Killed In Ohio Click here.