It’s Shark Awareness Day and also World Chimpanzee Day, and also World Orca Day! Plus, KidsSavingTheRainforest.org.
It’s Shark Awareness Day and World Chimpanzee Day and World Orca Day! Plus, KidsSavingTheRainforest.org
SHARK AWARENESS DAY
July 14th is a weird and wonderful day, according to Wikipedia. Why? Because it’s Shark Awareness Day, but it’s also World Chimpanzee Day and World Orca Day, too. So what does that all mean, and why does it matter?
Contrary to what you might expect, the purpose of Shark Awareness Day is not to stand on the beach and shout out warnings to terrified swimmers and surfers, despite the hours of mischievous fun that could provide!
According to Alex Hearn, professor of bioloy at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, “Sharks are among the top predators of the oceans. They have inhabited our planet for over 400 million years and are drivers of natural selection. However, in recent years they have suffered sharp declines due to overfishing and increased demand for their fins.
The vulnerable status of these feisty fish, with many species classed as threatened and some even as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has serious implications that go far beyond just the sharks themselves.
As top predators, sharks are vitally important for healthy ecosystems, preventing the populations of other animals from getting too large and often preying on the old and sick, which helps keep the remaining populations in good shape. Like top predators in any ecosystem, sharks play an essential role in keeping the seas healthy and productive, and yet various threats make these ocean oligarchs a persecuted and vulnerable species.
Shark Awareness Day aims to both dispel the fear, stigma, and misinformation surrounding sharks and also raise awareness of this creature’s plight, inspiring people all over the world to take action in their defense. While no one is suggesting we go out and hug a great white on Shark Awareness Day, it’s the least we can do to respect these wonderful creatures and help protect them.
DEEPER DIVE: Center for Galapagos Studies, Shark Trust, Save Coastal Wildlife
WORLD CHIMPANZEE DAY
In honor of humankind’s closest living relative, World Chimpanzee Day is a celebration of an extraordinary species: chimpanzees! On July 14th, we celebrate these remarkable beings and raise awareness about the vital need for worldwide participation in their welfare, protection, and conservation.
It’s celebrated on July 14th because it was on that day in 1960 that Dr. Jane Goodall first set foot in what is now Gombe Stream National Park to study wild chimpanzees. Dr. Goodall called attention to the remarkable chimpanzee and to this day, six decades later, advocates on their behalf.
In honour of humans’ closest cousin, World Chimpanzee Day is a celebration and an opportunity to raise awareness about the vital need for worldwide participation in their care, protection, and conservation in the wild and in captivity.
The Goals of World Chimpanzee Day:
- Celebrate humans’ closest cousin in the animal kingdom;
- Raise awareness about threats they face in the wild including habitat loss, disease, and wildlife trafficking; and
- Promote their proper care in captive situations.
The founding organizations for World Chimpanzee Day aim to empower communities everywhere to take action on behalf of chimpanzees to ensure a secure and hopeful future for this magnificent species.
DEEPER DIVE: WorldChimpDay.org, JaneGoodall.org.nz, Save the Chimp
WORLD ORCA DAY
What Makes Orca So Special? (in other words, why have a World Orca Day?)
As the top predator in the ocean, these iconic animals are not only truly fascinating, but they are also known as a ‘keystone’ species. This, among other things, means that they play a vital role in marine ecosystems. They are also known as an ‘indicator’ species, or a species that can tell us a lot about the health and well-being of an ecosystem.
Furthermore, orca are considered an ‘umbrella species’, because if we can protect them, then all the species and habitats that are part of their lives should come as part of the package. Therefore, if we do things right to protect orca properly those actions will also act as a layer of protection for the environment and the animals that live within it.
According to the website worldorcaday.org World Orca Day is a celebration of the species:
We aim to raise awareness of orca in the wild and the threats they face. Our overarching goal is to increase protection for orca and, as a result, the oceans. We strive to support a movement that brings together people who are interested in, and who advocate for, orca. We promote fundraising initiatives for projects that support the World Orca Day mission.
DEEPER DIVE: WorldOrcaDay.org, Ocean’s Initiative, Wildlife from Around the World
Kids Saving the Rainforest
Founded by two 9 year old girls, Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone, in 1999, Kids Saving the Rainforest was started for the purpose of educating people around the world about the ecological importance of the rainforest and to set-up programs to preserve and protect the rainforest and its wildlife.
KSTR invites participation by schools, children’s organizations and individuals throughout the United States and abroad who further the purpose by learning about the rainforest, doing projects that raise money to donate to KSTR and spreading the message further through educating others. KSTR reaches out to kids, teachers, parents, rehabilitation specialists, primatologists, willing volunteers and others around the world.
Its headquarters and projects in the Manuel Antonio rainforest of Costa Rica continue to make positive changes in the health of the mono titi monkeys and hundreds of abandoned, sick or injured animals who are helped and then released from our Wildlife Rescue Center.
There are great sections on the website to learn about animals, the rainforest itself, and resources for teachers, too!
DEEPER DIVE: Kids Saving the Rain Forest