Sharks (Superorder: Selachimorphia)Great White Shark by Terry Goss, CC BY 2.5
I'm sorry to say that this stamp won't be in the same format as the rest of the stamps in this collection.
I was trying to gather information about endangered sharks, and I was absolutely blown away by what I'd found. From what I've gathered, there are 201 different kinds of sharks threatened with extinction.
It would take me days, maybe even a week or so to try and catalog all that information here. I just can't. The numbers are staggering, and I had no idea that sharks were in this much trouble.Why are sharks killed?
Because people continue to buy products that contain sharks! To truly avoid making purchases with shark products in them, you just have to do your research. Arm yourself with knowledge, and you will already be doing your part to help these animals. We must refuse to support the market for shark parts, and we have to make others aware of just how serious the danger of extinction is for sharks. The more people that know, the more people become outraged, the more demand there will be for greater protection of sharks. Shark products are found in places you'd least expect, and it takes a vigilant eye and a keen mind to watch for them.
Food: The idea of sharks as food, just as with almost any other animal, would be more appealing if the methods by which they were killed were humane, if the parts of their bodies that were not eaten were not wasted, and if they weren't so over-fished. None of the aforementioned can apply here. Shark-finning is a notoriously cruel and painful practice by which sharks are caught, have their fins removed from their bodies, and are usually tossed back into the sea to suffer until they die. Hong Kong and mainland China dominate this market, and the worldwide demand for shark fins is astounding. Be wary when heading to the supermarket, or even to your favorite restaurant. Shark can sneak into the menu under names such as smoked fish strips, dried cod, stockfish, and rock salmon. Shark can even be found in fish and chips, and imitation crab meat. Shark can also be found in dog food and fish meal.
Debunked and Defunct Medicine: In recent history, shark cartilage has falsely been marketed as the potential cure for cancer. This has only increased demand for shark products, and their populations have suffered greatly in our race to cure a destructive, widespread epidemic. An article in the December 2004 issue of Cancer Research confirmed that shark cartilage preparations have, to date, shown absolutely no effect in treating cancer. Shark cartilage is also falsely valued as a healthy food supplement, and shark liver oil is frequently an ingredient in the ever popular cod-liver oil.
Fashion: If you'd believe it, shark skin is actually in the market as leather for purses, shoes, and even as watch straps. As with food, this wouldn't be such an appalling thought if they weren't endangered.
Cosmetics: Yes, cosmetics. Shark collagen is gathered from their cartilage, and is found in anti-wrinkle creams and other collagen preparations. Shark collagen is free of BSE (mad cow disease), and is kosher, which appeals greatly to Arabian and Israeli markets.
Industrial: Squalene collected from sharks is sometimes found in cleaning agents or lubricants, despite the fact that the very same squalene can be found in plants. Shark products may also be found in fertilizer.
Sharks have long been vilified as monsters, and voracious killers with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Let's put this in perspective:
Obesity kills 30,000 people annually.
Lightning kills 10,000 people annually.
Texting kills 6,000 people annually.
Hippos kill 2,900 people annually.
Airplanes kill 1,200 people annually.
Volcanoes kill 845 people annually.
Shopping on Black Friday kills 550 people annually.
Falling out of bed kills 450 people annually, just in the U.S.
Bathtubs kill 340 people annually.
Deer kill 130 people annually.
Icicles kill 100 people annually, just in Russia.
Hot dogs kill 70 children annually.
Jellyfish kill 40 people annually.
Dogs kill 30 people annually, just in the U.S.
High school football kills 20 people annually.
Vending machines kill 13 people annually.
Sharks kill 5 people annually.
We have to help the sharks shed their bad reputation, and show the world that they aren't monsters, and that they're important! Sharks are apex predators, and they are absolutely vital to our oceans. There is no excuse for us not
to protect them. A simple Google search for "save the sharks" will yield results for countless organizations, charities, and foundations that you can donate your time or money to. Sharks are in trouble, and we're the only ones that can help them.
Part of a series of stamps for EndangeredInc. If you love endangered animals and would like to know more about them, please join!If you would like to request a stamp for an endangered animal, please click here! Stamp requests are always free!