Helping a Species That Leaves Few Feeling Warm and Fuzzy

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BELIZE CITY, Belize — Among conservation biologists, Rachel Graham is sometimes called the aquatic Jane Goodall: She has developed new information about the lives of her research subjects and, like the famous primatologist, she has successfully deployed science to create a constituency for their preservation.

But Dr. Graham’s subjects lack the all-but-human charms of Dr. Goodall’s chimps. As the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program, Dr. Graham must overcome deeply held fears and prejudices in her efforts to outlaw fishing of various shark species, including the whale shark, a playful and friendly creature that migrates to the western Caribbean every spring. That species of shark is now protected off the coasts of Belize and Mexico, and last May Dr. Graham received the 2011 Gold Award and about $100,000 from the Whitley Fund for Nature in England for her work on its behalf.

Rachel Graham studying whale sharks off Nosy Be, Madagascar

We spoke for three hours at a hotel here, then later by telephone. A condensed and edited version of the two conversations follows.

You are a citizen of Belize. Did you grow up here?

No. I spent a large part of my childhood in Tunisia, that little tinderbox that last spring sparked so many changes in the world. I’m very excited to be from there. My British mother and American father were international vagabonds who met while teaching in Sierra Leone. We were this migratory family.

Wherever we lived, I was always bringing home creatures — lizards, snakes, scorpions. Perhaps because I was this blue-eyed tomboy in places where no one else was that, I identified with marginalized animal species. My mother tells the story of my coming home from school, complaining: “It’s so boring there. Nobody wants to talk about piranhas or sharks!”

To read more click here:- Rachel Graham Shark women

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Victory for Sharks!

Comments Off on Animal Legal Defense Fund : Victory for Sharks!

Animal Legal Defense Fund : Victory for Sharks!.

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