Saving our vulnerable sharks

first_imgThe much-feared Great White shark, whose reputation is often undeserved. (Image: Eric Hanauer, National Geographic) The SOS Shark Centre in Kalk Bay. (Image: Rethink the Shark)Janine ErasmusThe SOS Foundation – Save Our Seas – has opened a new shark research and education centre in Kalk Bay, south of Cape Town on the Cape peninsula, one of the world’s prime Great White shark zones. The Save Our Seas Shark Centre (SOSSC) aims to educate the public about the environmental importance of sharks, and to dispel the inaccurate notion that they are nothing but vicious killing machines that will attack unprovoked.This is far from the truth, says the SOS Foundation. Sharks are vulnerable and in trouble ecologically – with more than 100 million sharks disappearing from our water every year their numbers are dwindling rapidly. The world’s shark population has declined by 90% since the 1950s and 110 shark species are now listed as threatened with extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.South Africa is now stepping in to help save the sharks. Lesley Rochat, who has worked on the SOS Foundation’s M-Sea programme, is the manager of the SOSSC. “We will use the very channels and methods employed by the media to brand sharks as nature’s outcasts to turn the tables,” she said.The M-Sea programme is an initiative in which ragged tooth sharks are tagged with ultrasonic and satellite tracking devices, and released. Partners in the programme are the AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, the SOS Foundation, and the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. This is part of the aquarium’s ongoing work to learn more about the species. The ambassador for M-Sea, the ragged tooth shark Maxine, was tagged and released back into the ocean in 2004 after her capture in shark nets in 1995.AfriOceans maintains that sharks are considered good bio-indicators of the health of the ocean, yet despite this important role they are not a conservation priority. Sharks play a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of marine ecosystems by taking out weak and diseased fish. They help to help control populations of other predators, and if they are eliminated from the food chain the other predators will increase, which will in turn cause the reduction of other important species of fish further down the food chain – species that humans depend on for food.According to SOS Foundation executive director Chris Clarke, the SOSCC aims to play a central role in shark conservation in southern Africa, and by throwing open its doors to the public will be an ever-present reminder of the importance of sharks in the ecosystem. “Increased global awareness of the need to protect our ocean’s limited resources, in particular sharks, lies at the heart of all SOSSC goals,” he said, adding that there is a real need for the shark centre so that people can learn more about marine conservation and the myths about sharks.The SOSCC’s planned activities include scientific research projects, and awareness and education projects for the public at large, with a special emphasis on children. It will also embark on scientific collaboration between experts from research institutions, governments and the industry.Learning more about sharksThe non-profit SOS Foundation is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and was established in 2000 to increase public awareness of the marine environment, our greatest shared natural resource, and to promote its preservation and conservation. The founding member of the SOS Foundation remains anonymous to this day and is referred to in all literature simply as The Founder.The organisation has operations all around the world, with a diverse range of projects on the go in more than 30 countries. It has conducted operations in South Africa for over five years, and its projects include research on great white sharks in False Bay, and on tiger sharks in KwaZulu-Natal. It is also a partner in the M-Sea ragged tooth shark-tagging programme.One of the first SOS grant recipients was the SharkWorld exhibition that opened at Iziko Museums in Cape Town in October 2004 and is still open. The exhibition was developed under the guidance of world-renowned ichthyologist and shark specialist Dr Leonard Campagno, head of the museum’s Shark Research Centre. Campagno is also the chief scientist at the new Shark Centre.Iziko’s Shark Research Centre is one of only a handful of organisations worldwide that focus on the class Chondrichthyes – that is, cartilaginous fishes (sharks and rays) or shark-like fishes. Besides fundamental research projects into evolution, behavioural ecology and conservation of these animals, the centre informs and educates the public as well as serving as an advisory body to commercial fisheries and international research bodies.South Africa’s Natal Sharks Board is the only organisation of its kind in the world, according to the board. With more than 40 years of experience in the prevention of shark attacks and research on sharks, the board acts as an international consulting body that supports and promotes the conservation of sharks.Helping to save our sharksSharks are hunted extensively for their fins. Shark fins are among the most expensive foods in the world, surpassed only by such delicacies as truffles (the real ones) and some caviars. Even in South Africa sharks are killed for this reason, although illegally by poachers, as the practice is prohibited in this country. The Great White shark is protected by law in South Africa and the country pioneered an international convention to protect Great Whites from attack by humans.While it is said that almost 80% of Chinese people are unaware that shark-fin soup is made from shark fins and don’t realise the danger to the animals, the slaughter continues. According to the Shark Savers organisation, sharks are being driven to the brink of extinction because of the increased demand for shark-fin soup, which in China is a sign of prosperity especially among the growing middle class.Shark meat in this region is now many times more expensive than other types of fish. A bowl of shark-fin soup costs around $100 while dried shark fins cost anywhere from $100 to $300 per pound, says Shark Savers. The organisation says that a single Whale shark pectoral fin can sell for up to $15 000. The Whale shark is the largest fish in our waters and is not a predator but relies mainly on plankton for its nutrition. It is found all over the world.South Africa is prime shark territoryThe coasts of South Africa are home to great shark populations, and they are one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Shark tourism is on the rise and many cage diving operations have sprung up along the coasts, catering to those who seek the excitement of being among the creatures in their own habitat.South African waters are home to several species that have been known to attack humans, which only adds to the thrill. Among these are the Zambezi, Great White and Tiger sharks. However, says Chris Clarke, the threat of shark attacks on humans is highly exaggerated. “Last year, only one person was killed by a shark in the whole world. They might bite a human, but usually when they realise it’s not a seal they let go.”Useful linksSave Our Seas FoundationSave Our Seas group on FacebookAfriOceans Conservation AllianceMaxine the sharkRethink the SharkNatal Sharks BoardKalk BayIziko Museums of Cape TownTwo Oceans AquariumShark SaversSharkologyThe Shark TrustCITESIUCN Red Listlast_img read more

Video Tutorial: Better, Faster, Stronger Editing Tips

first_img1. Learn Your FootageKnowing everything about what you have to work with is incredibly valuable when it comes to assembling a timeline. Go through every clip and analyze its content. You can do this by putting them in a single timeline and pulling out your favorites.A great way to highlight footage you want to work with is to raise your favorite shots to the second track in a new timeline. Then, your next step will be to ripple-edit the remaining shots in the lower track.2. OrganizationBe. Completely. Organized. Label clips that are good or bad — make notes about which parts work and which don’t. Is it a drone shot? Is it an interview clip? Folders, bins, and labeling are key to a fast and successful edit.(Quick tip: if you change your browser mode to thumbnail, it can speed up your workflow immensely. You can now skim through clips without even clicking them.)3. Create ProxiesIf you’re working with incredibly large files that take forever to process, take the time to create proxies. This may eat up some time at first, but in the long run, it will make your edits way more efficient. Trust me.4. Reveal in ProjectIf you’re searching for a clip’s origin, instead of skimming through multiple bins, just right-click and select reveal in project. This can speed up the process of looking for clips, audio, assets, and sequences. You can even select reveal in finder to find the original files on your computer.5. Low ResExport low resolution files for feedback. Instead of doing high-res exports that take up space and upload time, create a smaller file. I like to set my export setting to YouTube 1080p then customize my bit rate, change VBR to CBR, then let the export sit in the 6-8 realm.And there you have it. Some straightforward tips to keep things efficient. While they may seem obvious, take the time to actually apply these ideas, and see what it does for your workflow.Interested in more video tutorials? Check these out.Video Tutorial: How to Loop an Animation in Adobe After EffectsVideo Tutorial: 5 Transitions You Should Start UsingVideo Tutorial: Start Shooting Better Slow Motion FootageVideo Tutorial: How to Shoot Product Videos on a BudgetHow to Export Illustrator Icons to Use in After Effects and Premiere Pro Editing video projects requires organization, stamina, concentration, and endurance. In this tutorial, learn how to maximize your workflow.There are a thousand ways you can throw off your workflow and make video editing more difficult — these mostly involve disorganization or inefficient techniques. In this video tutorial, I’ll go over a few ways to keep things quick and effective.Let’s get started.last_img read more

10 injured as militants trigger IED blast again in Pulwama

first_imgEight Army personnel and two civilians were injured when militants triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted in a vehicle near an Army patrol in the militancy-hit Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Monday, officials said.They said the multi-vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was moving on the Arihal-Pulwama road when the IED was detonated, injuring the personnel travelling in a bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle.The site of the IED blast is 27 km from the area where a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.Major killedIn another incident, an Army officer and a militant were killed during an encounter in Anantnag.A Srinagar-based police spokesman said Major Ketan Sharma, 32, from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, was injured when a search party of the security forces encircled hiding militants and came under “heavy fire” at Badoora village in Anantnag’s Achabal area in the morning.“Sharma was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said the police.Two other Army officials, including Major Rahul Verma, suffered injuries in the day-long exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces in Anantnag. “One militant was killed in the ongoing operation. His body was retrieved and his identity and affiliation are being ascertained,” said the police.Referring to the IED blast, Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said it was “a failed attempt” to attack the mobile vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles. “Alertness of the patrol party helped to minimise the damage,” said the spokesman.The police spokesman confirmed that six soldiers were injured in the IED blast, which inflicted severe damage on the Army vehicle.The attack on the Army vehicle comes days after Pakistan intelligence agencies reportedly shared information on the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s plans to carry out a major attack using a vehicle to “avenge” its chief Zakir Musa in Pulwama on May 24.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more