Sharks Our Ocean Guardians Childrens book gets around the world

Sharks Our ocean Guardians is the first childrens book from Shark Guardian. Written and illustrated by super author Gail Clarke, it introduces sharks and how they evolved. Plus we meet the main character Jed the hammerhead who we will follow on his journeys in subsequent books. The book was written with the aim of educating as many children as possible about sharks and to complement the Shark Guardian presentations. Shark Guardian decided to fundraise to cover the production of the books and to ensure that as many books could be given away to schools around the world.

Shark Guardian directors Brendon and Liz with Gail Clarke

Shark Guardian directors Brendon and Liz with Gail Clarke

Where have the books gone so far?

Thanks to the kind donations from our friends and followers around the world, Shark Guardian have so far donated books to schools in Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Thailand, Dubai, Belgium, Switzerland and the Philippines. Here are a few photographs and stories of the Shark Guardian educational messages spreading so far.

Southern Tanzania

Through EdUKaid, pre-primary classes Mgao and Singino based within a 15km radius of coastal village, Mikindani, southern Tanzania, received books in March 2015. Both classes have between 70 and 90 four to six year olds enrolled. The photographs clearly show how excited the children were at receiving their beautiful shark books. Shark Guardian hope to deliver more books to Tanzania and other of EdUKaid’s projects very soon.

Singino, South Tanzania

Singino, South Tanzania

Mgao, South Tanzania

Mgao, South Tanzania

Philippines

Shark Guardian have two Shark Guardian Dive Centers in the Philippines. Shark Guardian Leader Camille Lemmens has been presenting on behalf of the charity in both Moalboal and Malapascua and recently delivered some books to Shark guardian Dive Center Malapascua Exotic island dive & beach resort. In May a book was presented to Logon National High School which fit very well with their Arts and Science festival. And then in June, two more books were well received by a school in Guimbitayam. We thank  the staff of Malapascua Exotic for helping spread our shark education this way and look forward to hearing where the next books end up there.

Book presented to Logon National High School, Malapasuca

Book presented to Logon National High School, Malapasuca

Malapascua Exotic present books to school in Guimbitayam

Malapascua Exotic present books to school in Guimbitayam

Does your school or library want a free book?

Book being sent to  school in SIngapore thanks to donations

Book being sent to school in SIngapore thanks to donations

The Shark Guardian Childrens book project is ongoing. You can still donate to help with delivering books around the world and also to ensure there are funds to cover the costs of producing a second book. Plus Shark Guardian need names of teachers, libraries and schools anywhere in the world who would like a book sent to them for FREE! Email us right away and you could put a smile on childrens faces and ensure positive messages about sharks are spreading around the world.

Time for Makro, Thailand to stop selling shark fin! Students rally support at TDEX

Makro, Thailand, sells shark fin! And it’s time they stopped! That’s what students at the Thailand dive show and expo, TDEX, were rallying support for from 15-17 May 2015. Shark Guardian student ambassador Ob Saiyavath from Shrewsbury International School set up a petition two months ago and his emails and phone calls to Makro go unanswered. Ob led the petition that ultimately resulted in Thai Airways stopping the shipment of shark fin in July 2014. With students from Wells International School, TDEX was the ideal place to encourage the diving and general Thailand community to get behind this project and get Makro to take action.

Shark Guardian with students supporting Makro campaign to stop selling shark fin

Shark Guardian with students supporting Makro campaign to stop selling shark fin

Shark Guardian joins Aquamaster at TDEX

Aquamaster joins the Makro campaign

Aquamaster joins the Makro campaign

Shark Guardian joined the Aquamaster Thailand stand at the TDEX event, sharing leaflets and posters to dive enthusiasts and the general public, as well as encouraging people to sign the Makro petition.  Most people were unaware that Makro sells shark fin and were shocked to hear the news. Divers in Thailand are all to aware of the huge decline in shark sightings over the years in Thailand waters. This is something the Shark Guardian Thailand eShark project aims to highlight and provide data to protect remaining sharks and secure their future with a shark sanctuary. Makro MUST do the right thing to ensure diving and tourism in Thailand, a huge contribution to the Thailand economy, continue, and so divers do not look elsewhere for their vacations.

Makro must join other supermarkets who pledged to go Fin Free

Supporting Makro petition

Supporting Makro petition

In February this year, three leading supermarket chains in Thailand officially removed shark products from their shelves thanks to student appeals from Fin Free Thailand. The announcement came just ahead of Chinese New Year, a time common for shark product consumption, such as shark fin soup. UFM Fuji, Villa Market and Tops Supermarket officially removed shark products from their shelves after being approached by the Youth Ambassadors. More than 150 businesses, including hotels and restaurants have now joined the Fin Free campaign. The addition of two leading supermarkets expanded the campaign’s influence in the private sector to be socially and environmentally responsible. 

Now Ob and the other students hope Makro will do the same!

 

Dive centers and tourism associates support the campaign for Makro to stop selling shark fin!

Makro must stop selling shark fin

Makro must stop selling shark fin

Hundreds of people signed the petition over the TDEX weekend and Shark Guardian will continue a media campaign with Ob who keeps emailing Makro. Please sign the petition now and share far and wide. Lets secure the future of our sharks – in our oceans, not in the freezers of supermarkets!

Visit the petition site here: Siam Makro – stop the sales of shark fin

Makro - Stop selling shark fin! Dive centers support campaign

Makro – Stop selling shark fin! Dive centers support campaign

Thailand eShark Project Update

eShark posters available now

Since December 2013 the Thailand eShark Project from Shark Guardian has been the largest and most successful citizen science project in Thailand. This database aims to collect shark or no shark observations by divers, snorkelers or swimmers anytime people are in or near the water.

How is the Thailand eShark Project data being used?

The Thailand eShark Project results is used to raise awareness of declining shark populations in Thailand to the general public, Thai government and the Department of Marine Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Thailand. Additionally, to help improve protected marine parks with the aim of creating shark sanctuaries. The identification of shark species and areas is also an important step in determining the best method for recovery and protection.

Thailand eShark Project Update – Dec 2014

Eshark1

After a full year since the launch of the Thailand eShark Project, 6539 data entries were recorded from divers all over Thailand. the result was really amazing and started already to produce some interesting results. By the end of April 2014 the data showed that compared to the amount of activities logged, sharks were only seen in 8.2% of the time during these activities. This was a slight decrease compared to the end of April 2014 from 12.8%. This could be that we had more people entering data even when sharks were not seen, as apposed to when people only entered the data when sharks were seen.

Why enter data even when no sharks are sighted?

Zero shark sighings are important for any scientific survey – it is the only way Sighting Frequency can be calculated. Also, the zero’s are extremely important for examining the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas or fishing regulations. For example, if divers report zero’s in an area for 10 years, and then a no-take area is established, then we can start to determine if, and how long it takes for sharks to respond to the protection.

Thailand eShark Project Update – Mar 2015

eshark2

At the end of March 2015 our data entries increased to 9,063 (2,524 entries in 3 months) and this time there was an increase in shark sighting around Thailand which rose to 17.8% with a total of 1,615 sharks recorded. There certainly has been an increase in whale shark sightings this high season as well as an increase in Black Tip Reef Shark sightings. The Black Tip Reef sharks appears to be the most commonly sighted shark in Thailand especially by snorkelers. This data also suggests that there may be a ‘shark season’ in Thailand where more sharks are sighted in a particular time of the year. This is why having people enter their historical data would be very valuable and interesting to compare.

eshark3

The image above provides some additional information from the 9,063 data entries. Here you can also see the percentage of rays, turtles, seahorses and garbage sighted during the water activities by the data entries provided. What is a worrying factor is that almost one quarter of all data entries recorded garbage or marine debris during activities. Once again outlining that more must be done to keep our oceans clean to protect our marine life.  

Continue to enter your historical, present, and future activities into the eShark database

Historical dive logs provides valuable data for the past which helps to build a platform of information to compare over a long term period. So get your old log books and start entering your data! Record all your dive or snorkel activities in order for us to collect data and use it for shark and marine conservation worldwide.

The Thailand eShark Project will continue until the end of April 2015. However historical data and future data is still being collected and updated continuously. Please make sure that you collect as much data as possible for the rest of April 2015 and beyond! 

Step 1: Dive, snorkel and explore the reefs anywhere in the world

Step 2: Log and report your shark observations to the eShark database, even if no sharks were observed!

Step 3: If possible, report all your past dive logs into the eShark database including your shark/ no shark observations

DOWNLOAD THE THAILAND ESHARK LOG SHEET

REPORT YOUR SHARK OBSERVATIONS TO THE ESHARK DATABASE

THANKS TO

GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL

GLOBAL VISION INTERNATIONAL for helping to collect and enter data for Thailand dive centers

 

aql&aqm-low

 

Manta and shark madness in Khao Lak with the Marine Megafauna Foundation

The Khao Lak community, Phang Nga Province, Thailand, received a special treat on Monday 9th March 2015. Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) scientist and researcher Dr Fabrice Jaine collaborated with Shark Guardian for a night of mantas and sharks! Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing started the evening with a shark quiz! Then the focus was on whale sharks. Dr Fabrice followed by talking about the MMF and the important work they do. He then went on to explain ways that we can all get involved in manta photographic identification to track mantas wherever they may be.

Shark Guardian with Dr Fabrice Jaine and staff and guests linked to manta Ray of Hope expedition

Shark Guardian with Dr Fabrice Jaine and staff and guests linked to manta Ray of Hope expedition

Whale sharks in Thailand

Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing

Shark Guardian Director Brendon Sing

Brendon reinforced the whaleshark.org program that Shark Guardian have been promoting since the start of the Thailand high season of diving. Once again there have been numerous whale shark sightings in Thailand waters over the past 5 months. Shark Guardian hope that with increased logging of photographs on the whaleshark.org database we can start to better understand the populations of whale sharks that frequent the east and west coasts of Thailand.

Manta rays in Thailand and Burma

Dr Fabrice jaine from the Marine Megafauna Foundation

Dr Fabrice jaine from the Marine Megafauna Foundation

Hot off the latest Ray of Hope expedition around the Similan Islands and Burma, Dr Fabrice Jaine was excited to share more information about manta rays. The audience was gripped to hear about the 2 different species of manta ray. Fabrice continued to talk about manta photo identification, very similar to the whale shark ID shots that Brendon discussed in relation to whale sharks.

Citizen Science

Both Brendon and Dr Fabrice Jaine highlighted how easy it is for everybody to take part in cutting edge research. This is citizen science in action – anyone can take part in research, you do not need to be a scientist!! And both the manta ray and whale shark photographic ID programs are extremely important to monitor these marine species that are vulnerable to extinction as classified by the IUCN red list. Check out the Shark Guardian and MMF websites for more ways to take part in these and other projects.

Thanks!

A big thank you to the Sparrow Bar in Bang Niang, Khao Lak, for hosting this special evening. The bar also donated profits from drinks sales on the night to both Shark Guardian and MMF. Thanks to everyone who attended on the night. Keep an eye on the Shark Guardian social media pages and website for more events in the coming months!

Dr Fabrice Jaine with Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Dr Fabrice Jaine with Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Phuket Diving Community join Shark Guardian at Aquamaster

Shark Guardian were delighted to be back presenting in Phuket, Thailand, on 5th February 2015. Lots of new faces in the crowd enjoyed learning about Shark Guardians goals and objectives as well as getting an update on Thailand eshark and other research projects. A big focus was on whale sharks and the audience was very receptive to the new information given. Everyone learnt how easy it is to get involved in whale shark research worldwide.

Shark Guardian at Aquamaster in Phuket

Shark Guardian at Aquamaster in Phuket

Update on Thailand eShark Phase 2     

Shark Guardian focused on updating the Phuket dive crowd on Thailand eShark. See the reasons for this project and the summary of eshark phase 1 here.

Thailand eshark in Phuket

Thailand eshark in Phuket

Since the start of November 2014, divers and snorkelers nationwide in Thailand have been submitting their shark vs no shark sightings once more for eshark phase 2. With more than more than 7,000 data entries since November 2013, this information is crucial to show the declining shark populations in Thailand. Data is being used with the fisheries and IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of nature) to plan a National plan of Action for sharks as well as, what Shark Guardian hope in the long run, better protection of sharks. Shark Guardian also hope the results can go towards creating a shark and ray sanctuary in Thailand waters.

Remember current, past and future data is all important! And if you don’t have the time to input the data yourself, contact Shark Guardian and our volunteers will be willing to help you.

Whale sharks!

Whale shark education

Whale shark education

With frequent whale shark sightings again in Thailand since the start of November, Shark Guardian have been focusing on educating dive communities and the general public about the worlds largest shark. Important facts on anatomy, behaviour and distribution were shared. Then the focus was on whale shark research, which Shark Guardian is leading in collaboration with whaleshark.org and wildbook. Find out how you can get involved here.

Thank you Aquamaster and the Phuket dive community!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the well attend evening. Shark Guaradian enjoyed chatting to people after the event too and made some important contacts to help their research. Shark Guardian thank Aquamaster, Phuket, for the room use and hospitality for the evening. Plus their crucial support in producing and distributing Thailand eshark phase 2 posters. If you or your dive shop or organisation would like to promote eshark then grab some posters from their office in Chalong.

Shark Education in Dubai: 2015 tour a huge success!

Dubai School tour 2015 has been a huge success for Shark Guardian. 12 schools and almost 3000 students and teachers saw Shark Guardian Directors Brendon Sing and Liz ward-Sing in action over a week long tour. Once again this tour was sponsored by UK Charity Global Ocean, aiming to spread shark education and awareness throughout the UAE. A fabulous way to celebrate our amazing sharks!

Shark Guardian in Dubai 2015

Shark Guardian in Dubai 2015

Excitement and enthusiasm starts the tour with a bang!

Book reading and presentation at Gems Royal Dubai

Book reading and presentation at Gems Royal Dubai

The educational school tour started with a return to Gems Royal Dubai. Two presentations targeted the 650 students in Key Stage 1 and 2. Shark Guardian enjoyed being back at this school, especially to showcase the new children’s book: ‘Sharks Our ocean guardians’ to the younger students. Combined with slides from the full presentation, the book reading certainly excited all students about the journey of Jed the hammerhead!

Shark guardian with the DUNEHA group

Shark guardian with the DUNEHA group

In the afternoon we visited our friends at the Emirates Diving Association (EDA) presenting to the DUNEHA home school group. Fabulous to have a personal session with these students who were full of questions!

A busy schedule and so much passion for UAE sharks!

Shark jaws inspire students

Shark jaws inspire students

On to the American International School where the Year 10 boys enjoyed learning lots of new and interesting shark facts. The shark jaws loaned by IFAW UAE to help emphasise presentation content were a huge hit here and in all presentations. The year 7 and 8’s at The Gems Wellington Accademy in Al Khail were another audience full of questions. We think we have inspired some future Student Shark Ambassadors in these older students.

Changing student perceptions about sharks

American Academy, Al Mizhar

Shark education at American Academy, Al Mizhar

Shark Guardian found that, especially with the younger students of the UAE, there is so much fear about sharks. This was common on the last trip and also around Asia. This highlighted the importance  of shark education here and why the Shark Guardian presentation is so necessary. At Victoria Heights Primary and the American Academy (Al Mizhar) it was fantastic to see how students were converted to admire and respect sharks. The older students at the American Academy were also asking lots of question about learning to dive so they could see sharks! A great result! With the right education and understanding, we CAN change attitudes and then these same students will spread those positive facts far and wide.

A busy morning in Sharjah

Gems Westminster, Sharjah

Gems Westminster, Sharjah

Shark Guardian enjoyed returning to Sharjah and the Gems Westminster School. Years 3-5 then the secondary girls were fantastic audiences – but once again there was a need to change the false perceptions of sharks with these 600+ students. On to another return visit to Dubai English Speaking School to fit in with the sustainability unit for the Year 4 students. So much enthusiasm for sharks in this group – knowledge of sharks at the start was immense so Shark Guardian added fuel to this. As always it is even better to link the Shark Guardian presentation to current school studies. Shark Guardian know this group will use their new found knowledge to enhance their current conservation activities and pass on the great shark vibe throughout DESS in other years.

Shark education for the future: Getting the older students involved with Shark Guardian

Later in the Shark Guardian tour, a few excellent sessions were spent with older students who are very keen to enhance their knowledge about sharks further, as well as supporting the Shark Guardian UK charity. Shark Guardian firstly visited the Jumeirah English Speaking school in the Arabian ranches since one of the upper school ‘house’ groups have selected Shark Guardian as their charity for this year. Shark Guardian were extremely excited to meet students from this group, talk more about sharks and Shark Guardian, and plan a strategy for getting students trained as student shark ambassadors. Watch this space for feedback from this inspired group!

Dubai College

Dubai College

The Year 8 girls from Al Khaleej National school were another group to be inspired – so many questions after the presentation. These students really enjoyed examining the shark teeth, plus the shark fins that were handed around. Seeing the fins after watching a shark finning video really brought the topic close to hand, reinforcing how brutal and pointless shark finning is. The Dubai College was another captive audience and we look forward to strong collaboartions with these year 7 and 8 students in the future. Students even stayed during their lunch break to ask more questions and learn more about sharks!

A fantastic ending at the Dubai British School

Interested pupils at the Dubai British School

Interested pupils at the Dubai British School

The final day of the Shark Guardian Dubai Tour 2015 was a presentation to the 450 primary students at the Dubai British School. From the introductory video the children were gripped and Shark Guardian cannot wait to see some follow up activities from this group. This concluded 12 schools and nearly 3000 students and teachers. Shark education is definitely much needed in this part of the world and Shark Guardian are proud to play a role in it, as well as promoting the work of UAE organisations such as IFAW, The Gulf Elasmo Project,  Shark Watch Arabia and the EDA.

Sharing IFAW resources at Victoria Heights

Sharing IFAW resources at Victoria Heights

Save our sharks poster competition from 2014: Winners presented with their celebratory books

School competition winners at Al Khaleej National School

School competition winners at Al Khaleej National School

During the time in Dubai and Sharjah, Shark Guardian presented the student winners and schools who participated in the Shark Guardian/Global ocean 2014 poster competition, with celebratory shark books. The beautiful books showcase the works of students from the UAE which aim to highlight the importance of sharks, why we must protect them and why we should celebrate the 31 species of sharks that can be found in UAE waters. Of the hundreds of entires in to the competition, it was very difficult for the selected judges to choose winners. The book is a great final collection that really does highlight the education, awareness and attitudes the students have towards conserving sharks.

More books will be presented in an official capacity to NGO’s, celebrities and government officials in an event to be showcased in Dubai later in the year. Stay tuned to learn more about Shark Guardian and Global Oceans’ plans for more shark education in the UAE! As well as ways in which you could be a part of this wonderful project!

Thank you!

Shark Guardian thanks Global Ocean and everyone involved for supporting this tour and making it so successful. As Brendon and Liz prepare for the arrival of their very own Shark Guardian, they will be focusing on Thailand schools over the next month. Check our Facebook page and website for upcoming events near you!

Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing

 

Childrens Book gets ‘world premier’ in Phuket School!

New childrens book ‘Sharks Our ocean Guardians’ was unveiled to the general public on 11th December 2014. After months of planning, drafting and an amazing creation by childrens author Gail Clarke, what better place to unveil the book than at the school where the connection to Gail began. Headstart International students (Phuket, Thailand) had also raised money in the project to ensure the Shark Guardian educational book can be delivered free to schools around the world.

Childrens Book release, Phuket, Thailand

Childrens Book release, Phuket, Thailand

Headstart International, Phuket, Thailand

Liz presents Headstart with a 'Thank You' certificate for their donation

Liz presents Headstart with a ‘Thank You’ certificate for their donation

Shark Guardian Director Liz ward-Sing was delighted to return to Headstart just over a year since Shark Guardian delivered a day of presentations there at the end of 2013. Liz thanked the staff and students for their help in the book campaign. Students brought money as a donation on a non-uniform day a few weeks earlier helping Shark Guardian with a big push to get the new books printed.

New childrens book is very well received!

Book reading at Headstart

Book reading at Headstart

Liz presented the new book with a book reading session in two groups. Both sets of lower school students were full of questions and comments – the educational value of the book immediately being highlighted. The students loved the evolution introduction with as ever a fascination with the extinct megalodon shark. Then on to learn about different shark species and the importance in our oceans. Finally the students welcomed the arrival of the main character, Jed the hammerhead, who we will follow on his epic ocean adventures in the book sequels. Happy students and shark education spreading once more in Thailand!

Get your own book now!

Shark Guardian continue to raise money for the book project to ensure as many books as possible can go to schools around the world for FREE! If you would like to help in this project then follow this LINK now. If you have an idea of where a book or books should go (anywhere in the world!) then email liz@sharkguardian.org right away! If you would like to purchase a book from our online store then follow this LINK now.

Cover: Shark Guardian Childrens book Part 1

Cover: Shark Guardian Childrens book Part 1

Thanks for all the support!

Shark Guardian has so far raised more than £1800 of the £2500 needed to secure production of the second book as well as to give most of the books away for free. A huge thank you goes to everyone around the world who has supported this project! A big thank you also goes to many Shark Guardian dive centers who have contributed.

Leopard shark and whale shark night in Khao Lak!

Shark Guardian were delighted to have Dr Christine Dudgeon, Scientist behind Spot the Leopard Shark – Thailand, in Khao Lak on the west coast of Thailand. Christine has been touring dive communities promoting the project and updating people on the findings. A 70+ crowd turned out for a great night learning about leopard sharks and research on 4th December. Shark Guardian also presented important facts about whale sharks and why their new photographing program, linked with whaleshark.org is so important for monitoring shark populations in Thailand.

A full house at Walkers Inn

A full house at Walkers Inn

Spot the leopard Shark – Thailand

Spot The Leopard Shark Update

Spot The Leopard Shark Update

The Spot the Leopard Shark project has been running since August 2013. Shark Guardian Directors Liz and Brendon were on Koh Phi Phi for the launch. They have been sharing and promoting the project since then. It was fantastic to get an update on the data collected so far.

The audience was given extensive information about leopard sharks, species identification, development and long distance migration. Plus anatomy and mating descriptions ensured the evening was light hearted and fun!

Leopard shark deveopment

Leopard shark development

The project has been a huge success so far, even proving long distance migration of a leopard shark between Phuket reefs and Koh Tachai. This popular dive site is north of the Similan Islands – a distance of more than 160km from Phuket!! Please continue to take photographs of all leopard sharks seen in Thai waters and contribute to the project.

Whale Sharks

Brendon SIng presents whale sharks in Khao Lak

Brendon SIng presents whale sharks in Khao Lak

Shark Guardian, in collaboration with Whaleshark.org, is focusing on encouraging the correct photographic identification (ID) shots of whale sharks throughout Thailand waters. The Thailand database for the west coast is particularly lacking in ID shots. Shark Guardian is therefore making it easy for all divers and snorkelers to both learn how to take the correct photographic shots, and also to upload them to the global database. Learn more from this LINK.

The Leopard shark night was the perfect opportunity for Shark Guardian to talk more about this project with the Khao Lak audience. With more whale shark sightings just days after the presentation, we hope this database is growing by the day!

Leopard sharks and the Similan islands

Dr Christine Dudgeon in action

Dr Christine Dudgeon in action

Dr Christine Dudgeon and Brendon took a day off to go diving around Koh Tachai at the weekend. This is where most leopard sharks have been seen over the past few years. However as with the rest of Thailand, leopard shark sightings here and in the Similan islands have reduced considerably. This highlights the need for important citizen science research programs, such as Spot the Leopard Shark and Thailand eShark. Shark Guardian will continue to push these projects and hope that Thailand fishing and National Park laws can improve with this important data. Unfortunately Christine and Brendon were not lucky on this occasion. They thank Similan seven Seas for taking them diving and for the expert knowledge and information provided by the local dive guide.

Thanks!

IMG_2337Thank you to everyone who attended this fantastic event. We wish Christine even more success with her project. Shark Guardian will be presenting on dive boats over the coming week as well as organising a Christmas special shark night in Khao Lak! In January they return to Dubai to present in schools. Please contact liz@sharkguardian.org if you have school contacts or other useful links for Shark Guardian there.

Koh Phi Phi and Ao Nang, Thailand, get some serious Shark Guardian education!

Shark Guardian rounded off a busy few weeks visiting key diving locations on the west of Thailand. A few days on Koh Phi Phi included a very well attended presentation. Plus the Shark Guardian directors went diving and snorkelling in search of sharks and valuable research data. Finally Ao Nang last week proved a valuable time to educate another 2 groups of enthusiastic divers, volunteers and tourists. With an extra bit of eduction in dive shops to promote Thailand eShark, this has been a most enjoyable and highly positive start to the west coast diving season.

Shark Guardian with projects Abroad, Ao Nang

Shark Guardian with projects Abroad, Ao Nang

Koh Phi Phi

Shark Guardian on Koh Phi Phi with Blue View Divers

Shark Guardian on Koh Phi Phi with Blue View Divers

At the start of November Shark Guardian spent a very productive few days on Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, Thailand. A presentation hosted by Shark Guardian Dive Center Blue View Divers was a fun filled shark evening. This was a great time to connect with the staff at Blue View who are fabulous in supporting all Shark Guardian projects, offering that bit extra to their guests when it comes to sharks and conservation.

Blue View Shark night

Blue View Shark night

A few days of snorkelling and diving unfortunately identified no sharks. However this is important reserach data for Thailand eShark Phase 2 which is well on its way now. There seems to be a few obvious locations now in Thailand where black tip reef shark populations have reduced massively, or potentially been wiped out. This is very sad news. But with evidence of past data to compare recent sightings, Shark Guardian hope to turn this into postive action with stronger fishing laws and marine protected reserves.

Ao Nang, Krabi: 2 presentations and dive shop visits!

Friday the 14th of November was a busy day for Shark Guardian in Ao Nang on the west coast of Thailand. First location was a return to the Projects Abroad Headquarters and the first personal Shark Guardian presentation there. 13 volunteers really enjoyed learning more about sharks. Plus they were all very excited to hear about research in the area and how they can all contribute. Shark Guardian look forward to seeing the Thailand eShark participation from Projects Abroad who provided extensive data for us during Phase 1 of the Project.

Shark Guardian at TJ's

Shark Guardian at TJ’s

A return to TJ’s Bar and Grill in Ao Nang in the evening was a huge success. A full house with old and new faces was such great fun for Shark Guardian. An update on activities over the past 6 months plus a focus on projects including Thailand eShark, Spot the Leopard shark and the new Whale Shark monitoring project. Huge enthusiasm from the crowd, some interesting questions and a lot of motivation for all projects. This was follwed up with some dive shop visits the next day which included a small interview from a Swedish student currently in Ao Nang on an intern project!  Shark Guardian look forward to returning to Ao Nang later in the year.

Shark resources available to all Thailand dive shops

eShark posters available now

eShark posters available now

Shark Guardian continue to give posters and handouts to all Thailand dive, snorkel and free diving centers to help promote Shark Guardian projects as well as shark education in general. Please get in touch if you or your dive shop would like more information. In the next few weeks Shark Guardian will be presenting on dive boats in Khao Lak. And at the start of December, special events with Spot the Leopard Shark researcher Christine Dudgeon may be at a Thailand location near you!

Hong kong Tshirt Competition Winner announced!!

The Shark Guardian Hong Kong School Tshirt competition finally came to a close last week as the winner was awarded their design on their very own tshirt! After hundreds of entries from the 14 schools Shark Guardian visited in May/June 2014, Kelly Wong from Quarry Bay School was named the outright winner. Shark Guardian directors sent a special congratulatory video to be played to announce the winner at the school. Kelly was then given her own shirt – a huge congratulations to this fabulous Shark Guardian!

Shark Guardian Hong Kong Tshirt competition 2014

Shark Guardian Hong Kong Tshirt competition 2014

New Shark Guardian Tshirt designed by a Hong Kong student

Shark Guardian wanted a new tshirt to complement their time in Hong Kong. During the second Hong Kong school tour in May/June this year, all schools visited were asked to reflect on the learning delivered through the Shark Guardian educational presentations. Shark Guardian asked students to come up with a new tshirt design to share important messages but also to send a positive message about sharks. The winning design was a firm favourite amongst the judges from the start and Shark Guardian hope you agree that it does a great job. It conveys the message ‘Say No to Shark Fin’ whilst showing a beautiful ocean scene on the back to show how important sharks are.

Back of the new tshirt with important ocean messaage

Back of the new tshirt with important ocean messaage

WINNER: Kelly Wong, Quarry BAy School, Hong Kong

WINNER: Kelly Wong, Quarry Bay School, Hong Kong

Tshirt competition winner

A surprised Kelly is congratulated!

A surprised Kelly is congratulated!

Kelly Wong was 9 years old when she drew the design. She is currently in Year 5 at Quarry Bay school. Quarry Bay teacher and Shark Guardian follower Stephanie  Gilchrist said that Kelly was shocked and surprised when her name was read out on the video! “She looked a little confused and disbelieving and was a little lost for words!”. Kelly loves the ocean and the animals inside it and “was inspired by the Shark Guardian talk in school” to create the fabulous design.

Get your own limited edition Hong Kong tshirt!

If you would like your own Hong Kong Tshirt designed by Kelly then please see our website or email us directly at info@sharkgardian.org for more information. Shark Guardian hope that lots of students wear these tshirts around Hong Kong to play a role in the education of the wider issue of shark finning and shark fin soup consumption, where Hong Kong plays such a key role in both aspects.

Congratulations!

Once again thank you to Kelly and to Quarry Bay and all schools for supporting the competition. The entries from Quarry Bay were immense and there has been lots of follow up from the visit earlier this year. A huge congratulations to kelly! We wish kelly and her student friends all the best in becoming the next generation of Shark Guardians! Anyone can make a difference in this world and the younger you start the better.

She was inspired by your talk in school. She loves the ocean and the animals inside it.

Thailand dive season starts with shark education and eShark Phase 2!

As the end of 2014 draws near, the Thailand diving season on the west coast is starting with a bang! Dive locations in Khao Lak and Koh Lanta have given Shark Guardian a very warm welcome over the past week. Shark education is back in Thailand after an Indonesian focus over the summer, along with the start of a new whale shark project and Thailand eShark Phase 2. Plus Shark Guardian is getting on boats to talk to guests, educate and increase participation in these projects.

Shark Guardian in action in Thailand

Shark Guardian in action in Thailand

Khao Lak presentation, Sparrow Bar, 26th October 2014

GVI join the Sparrow event. They have been instrumental in inputting eShark data

GVI join the Sparrow event. They have been instrumental in inputting eShark data

There was a fantastic turn out with an awesome night had by all in Khao Lak on 26th October. Great to see old as well as new faces with such a great vibe for the dive season which was starting on the Thailand west coast. With recent whale shark sightings, a focus on a new whale shark project in association with whaleshark.org made things all the more exciting. Following numerous whale shark sightings last season, it is so important that divers and snorkelers around Thailand are helping to monitor populations through photographic identification.

Thailand eshark phase 2 was also discussed as days later the official start would arrive. The motivation from local dive centers was clear and Shark Guardian hope this is reflected in an even higher participation rate this season. Thanks to the Sparrow Bar for hosting and for everyone who joined Liz and Brendon in their local town!

Koh Lanta stage 1, Hidden Depths Diving presentation, 28th october 2014

Shark Guardian at Hidden Depths

Shark Guardian at Hidden Depths

Straight on to Koh Lanta and a return to Hidden Depths, a long established and supportive Shark Guardian Dive Center. Staff from Hidden Depths, dive master trainees, Instructor development candidates and other dive center staff gave Shark Guardian a very warm welcome. Once again the drive for participation in Thailand eShark was evident. Plus  offers with translation of Shark Guardian material was very much welcomed. Please do not hesitate to contact Shark Guardian if you can help with this kind of translation! It is vital that Shark Guardian shark education can spread far and wide!

Koh Lanta Dive Boat education, 29th October 2014

Scubafish, Koh Lanta

Scubafish, Koh Lanta

Shark Guardian directors Brendon and Liz were extremely happy to join Scubafish Diving for a day in the Andaman Sea. Brendon headed to the northern islands of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang hoping the deep drop offs and surprise currents may bring in some big sharks! Unfortunately no sharks but still valuable data for Thailand eShark which all the guests were extremely excited about participating in.

Liz joined a different boat to Koh Haa, snorkelling in some amazing conditions and taking guests on shark spotting adventures. Despite recent sightings and long standing sites for black tip reef sharks, there were no sightings. Again crucial data for Shark Guardian research projects. The guests really enjoyed chatting to Liz about different Thailand shark species and using the Shark Guardian Thailand Shark Poster to learn more great facts.

Koh Lanta stage 2, Scubafish Diving presentation, 29th october 2014

Scubafish HQ presentation

Scubafish HQ presentation

At the end of a fun day in the water, what better than to connect with the rest of the Scubafish team to share the full Shark Guardian presentation. This was very well received with people commenting on the new information and videos and how something new can be learnt each time. Scubafish are now well on the way with their data collection for Thailand eShark, something all Shark Guardian dive centers are embracing! Plus a new Shark Guardian dive center on Koh Lanta is in the registration process – more news on that soon!

Khao Lak Dive Boat education, 2nd November 2014

Back in Khao Lak and before another busy week on the road visiting more diving locations, shark eduction hit the seas in the Similan islands! Liz joined local Shark Guardian dive center IQ Dive’s boat. With more whale shark, black tip and even a leopard shark sighting recently, Liz was excited to explore around Koh Tachai and Koh Bon. With IQ already collecting eShark data, the short presentation given by Liz on the boat was perfect for the guests and staff. And fantastic that most of the snorkelers with Liz saw 1 or 2 black tips! A great result and such a lot of smiles at the end of the day.

Shark Guardian on IQ Dive Boat

Shark Guardian on IQ Dive Boat

Shark Education continues on Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Ao Nang

Shark Guardian now hit the road again. Presentations are scheduled on Koh Phi Phi and Ao Nang plus a brief trip to Phuket will allow materials and eShark promotion to continue. Keep an eye on the Shark Guardian website for upcoming events in Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong!

Hong Kong Schools Tshirt Competition…the results are in!

Shark Guardian’s second Hong Kong School tour was a huge success in May/June of this year. During the visits to 13 International Schools, a competition for students to design a new Shark Guardian Tshirt was announced. This was a way for students to express their learning from the presentations, as well as a future way to share important messages about sharks and conservation. Finally the winner has been chosen. Here are the final selection that made choosing the winner so difficult! When the new tshirt gets presented to the student in person next week, more information will come. Very exciting!

Hong Kong Schools Tshirt competition finalists

Can you spot the winner?

Renaissance College

Renaissance College

Kennedy School

Kennedy School

ISF

ISF

Quarry Bay

Quarry Bay

Gigaminds Primary

Gigaminds Primary

German Swiss

German Swiss

French International School (Primary French)

French International School (Primary French)

French International School (Primary English)

French International School (Primary English)

Clearwater Bay

Clearwater Bay

Winner to be announced at the school next week!

Shark Guardian were overwhelmed with the number of competition entries and the very high standard. Choosing a winner was extremely hard. In the end the decision came down to the ability of the design to transfer to a tshirt and how simple messages could be conveyed. Stay tuned for the results and thanks again to all the students who entered – all deserved to be winners! Shark Guardian cannot wait to see the finished design on the winning student and for them to go on sale to raise money for Shark Guardian.

 

Shark Guardian Childrens Book ready for print: Now YOU can help!

Sharks – Our ocean Guardians

Over the past year Shark Guardian have lost count of the people requesting and suggesting a childrens book to complement the Shark Guardian educational presentation. Finally, with the help of the most amazing author and illustrator Gail Clarke, the Shark Guardian dream has become a reality. Shark Guardian is delighted to introduce their latest project. Now we hope that all our supporters can help us raise money to produce the book and give away as many copies as possible to schools around the world.

Cover: SG Children book Part 1

Part one of the Shark Guardian childrens book series, featuring Jed the hammerhead

Part One in the Shark Guardian Childrens book is an introduction to shark species and their importance, plus the main character: Jed the hammerhead. Jed will be followed on future journeys in the sequel books, where he encounters and learns about other shark species, along with the threats, problems and challenges facing sharks and the oceans. There will be an emphasis on further learning with fun activities for children, plus conservation ideas and getting involved.

Book 2 pic

Author Gail Clarke

Shark Guardian connected to Gail Clarke via one of the Thailand schools visited in October 2013. When Gail learnt more about the Shark Guardian charity and the ideas from the Shark Guardian Directors Brendon and Liz, Gail offered her time and services for free to this amazing project. Gail has spent many hours creating the beautiful text in rhyme and stunning images to complement it. Brendon and Liz truly cannot believe that their ideas have been converted in to such a magical learning tool for children ages 6 to 10. However it seems adults are also learning a thing or too from reading the book!

Shark Guardian send a huge THANK YOU out to Gail (and her husband David) for her commitment, drive and general loveliness in this project! Check out Gails other fantastic childrens books via her website and  Facebook page.

Why are we raising money for this project?

Shark Guardian are raising money to ensure that as many books as possible can be given away FREE TO SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD. Shark Guardian also aim to raise enough money to produce and print the second book in this series, so that the education delivered by Shark Guardian spreads further, wider and continues after each and every school visit. In 2013 Shark Guardian delivered their shark and marine educational presentations to 40 different schools in 9 different countries. With a book as an extra educational tool, the Shark Guardian legacy will continue to future school years, even without the personal visits by the Shark Guardian team.

book 4 pic

Furthermore, Shark Guardian want our followers and supporters to influence where the books are sent. This fund-raising opportunity allows books to go places where Shark Guardian may never have even thought of! Where would YOU like a book to g so the children can learn all about sharks and how wonderful they really are?

How to get involved

Donate to this project and receive a FREE book or books to go to the school or child of your choice. This is a win win for everyone and we hope to smash the target of £2500 so the books are delivered far and wide around the world. Follow this LINK to the full page on the Shark Guardian website with information on how to donate. Thank you so much in advance from all the Shark Guardian team!

 

Shark Guardian lands in Labuan Bajo for LOTS of shark fun and learning

Shark Guardian had a fantastic night at the first ever presentation in Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indoensia. On Friday 12th September 2014 around 60 people joined the event at the Sky Bar. Divers and dive professionals as well as tourists who fancied something different to the Komodo Dragons, joined Shark Guardian Directors Liz Ward-Sing and Brendon Sing who are currently on a tour of Bali and Lombok.

Shark Guardian, Sky Bar, Labuan Bajo

Sky Bar, Labuan Bajo

Brendon and Liz ready at Sky Bar

Brendon and Liz ready at Sky Bar

Labuan Bajo on Flores is the gateway to the famous Komodo National park. People head this way to explore the amazing scenery, volcanoes, see the famous Komodo Dragons, and also to dive in the marine park. With some of the best diving in the world, Shark Guardian have been planning to venture this way for a long time. With an invitation from Wicked Diving to lead a shark expedition on a live aboard trip, this was the perfect time to do a community event, as well as some amazing diving. With lights from boats shining in the background in the harbour, the open space Sky Bar was a fantastic venue for some shark education.

Shark Conservation

Labuan Bajo crowdAs well as talking about the Shark Guardian UK Charity objectives, recent activities and a whole list of weird and wonderful sharks, Indonesia eShark was introduced to the enthusiastic audience. This project will be released early next year. But already, as with our Thailand eShark project, anyone who dives, snorkels or goes in the water anywhere around the world can upload their data to the eShark database. Such citizen science projects are needed to track trends in shark and ray populations. Data can then be analysed and used to write scientific papers. This directs conservation, management and policy initiatives. Such data was crucial in the creation of the manta ray sanctuary in Indonesia in February. Shark Guardian hope to play a part in better protection of sharks throughout Indonesia.

A fantastic crowd!

Liz and Brendon with Christa from Wicked Diving

Liz and Brendon with Christa from Wicked – eco manager in Thailand

Thanks to everyone who joined the Labuan Bajo event and for all the feedback and contacts given to Shark Guardian after the event. Also thanks to The Lounge and Sky Bar for hosting the event and ensuring drinks and food ran smoothly! More coming soon about the shark filled dive trip Brendon has just returned from – more than 50 sharks in 3 days, not a bad start to our Indonesian data collection.

Shark Education in Phuket and Khao Lak, Thailand

Shark Guardian have had a fantastic time talking sharks and sharing project results and information with dive communities and the general public in the south of Thailand. Events started in Phuket on the 24th July and finished with a bang in Khao Lak on the 27th. The Thailand eShark results from Phase One have been well received from everybody. Plus species identification has been a delightful and entertaining topic at times! Everyone has been guaranteed to learn something from the presentations, whether a scuba diver or not.

Shark Guardian education in Thailand!

Shark Guardian education in Thailand!

A Happy Shark Night at Happy Days in Phuket!

Brendon Sing talking sharks in Phuket

Brendon Sing talking sharks in Phuket

A big thanks goes to Aaron and the Happy Days team in Chalong, Phuket. They were a great host for our Shark and Marine presentation on the 24th and even donated a share of the bar profits to our UK charity. There was a very warm welcome from dive professionals and the general public. People were even stopping as they passed by on the street, engrossed in the amazing videos and photos that were shared. We shared Thailand eShark data and encouraged further participation from this busy dive community.

A new Shark Guardian Dive Center

Oceanic Dive center, Phuket

Oceanic Dive center, Phuket

Also during the Phuket evening, Shark Guardian met with Rachel Hawtin from Oceanic Dive Center to complete their registration as a Shark Guardian Dive Center! This is the latest center to join the ever growing list of dive centers supporting shark conservation. 30 dive centers worldwide now support Shark Guardian and this is expected to grow in the coming months with dive centers in Koh Tao (Thailand), Raja Ampat and Indonesia adding to the list.

Shark Guardian Dive Center Sea Bees welcome Liz on their dive boat!

Shark Guardian with Sea Bees Diving

Shark Guardian with Sea Bees Diving

Shark Guardian Director Liz Ward-Sing spent a wonderful day on the Sea Bees boat on the 26th of July. Liz chatted to individuals about Shark Guardian and its Thailand activities. Then in the break between the 2 dives, Liz presented a short version of the Shark Guardian presentation, highlighting the importance of sharks, shark species and why sharks are threatened in our oceans. The shark education was very well received and the many children on board were super excited to learn more about sharks. Coincidentally 1 child saw Shark Guardian at their school in Dubai in February this year! His fascination with sharks has grown since then so this was an added surprise to see Liz again.

Returning to local ground – Shark Guardian back in Khao Lak at Mars bar!

Shark education in Khao Lak, Thailand

Shark education in Khao Lak, Thailand

Shark Guardian were very excited to return to Mars Bar in Khao Lak on the 27th of July. After an amazing Sunday roast dinner put on especially for the night, there was a full house in this fun bar and restaurant. New divers, experienced instructors, dive shop owners, families and GVI volunteers filled Mars Bar for the shark education evening. GVI have been instrumental in uploading Thailand eShark data and are helping Shark Guardian with their new whale shark program (more information coming in November).

Shark anatomy and species differentiation

Bamboo shark vs nurse shark identification

Bamboo shark vs nurse shark identification

Shark Guardian added new content to all their recent presentations. Shark anatomy proved an entertaining topic, especially with the Sunday evening crowd in Khao Lak!! All audiences were enthusiastic to learn about the differences between nurse and bamboo sharks. This is an important area of shark education to complement the Thailand eShark project since the scientist behind eShark thought there may be confusion. It may be that nurse sharks have been incorrectly identified when actually bamboo sharks were seen. With the simple tips to  differentiate the different species, the Thailand eShark data will be much more accurate.

Shark education: species identification

Shark education: species identification

Shark Guardian takes their shark education to Koh Tao and Indonesia

Big Blue Presentation PicAt the start of August Shark Guardian return to Koh Tao to support Big Blue’s effort in shark conservation. Their annual swim for sharks will be held on the 2nd of August and Shark uardian will do some presentations on the evening of the 1st and the day of the 2nd to reinforce the focus of the shark event. Shark Guardian look forward to presenting alongside Christine Dudgeon from the Spot The Leopard Shark – Thailand project whilst in Koh Tao.

In August Shark Guardian return to Indonesia for an extensive tour of dive communities and schools. Check out the events page on the Shark Guardian website for a full list of locations where you an see Shark Guardian deliver their shark education.