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10 Year-old Girl Raises Awareness about Sharks

10 Year-old Girl Raises Awareness about Sharks
Aquarist Stacy Hammond and Kylie

Donors | General

June 2, 2014

Young girl donates to Aquarium

In lieu of gifts, a 10-year-old named Kylie asked her friends and family to donate to a shark fund for her birthday. As a result, she raised $850 to adopt a shark as part of the Aquarium’s Adopt an Animal program. “Kylie was given a stuffed shark animal on her third birthday, and she’s been crazy about them ever since,” said Michelle, Kylie’s mother.

This past weekend Kylie and her family presented the Aquarium with her donation. To recognize her efforts, Kylie was invited to a special behind-the-scenes tour and animal encounter with the Aquarium’s sharks. As part of the encounter, aquarists showed her how we train our sharks to perform certain behaviors. She also got the first-hand experience of feeding the Aquarium’s nurse shark. “My favorite part of the day was feeding the sharks and being close to them. I learned a lot today about sharks that I didn’t know before,” Kylie said. She received a shark plush toy and adoption certificate as part of the benefits of the Adopt an Animal program.

In addition to her fundraising efforts, Kylie began a campaign at her school to raise awareness about the possible extinction of certain species of sharks. She even created a website to further educate her friends and family about these misunderstood animals of the ocean.

The ocean is important to all of us. It provides us with the food we eat, the oxygen we breathe, and lifesaving medicines. Protecting the ocean and its ecosystems is essential and sharks play a key role in these ecosystems. However, many shark species are at risk. Sharks are caught worldwide for food and accidentally in other fisheries. Many sharks are caught only for their fins in a practice called shark finning. Shark finning involves capturing a shark, cutting off its fins and dumping the finless animal back into the water. Each year millions of sharks are killed to supply the shark fin industry. To protect our ocean and its essential functions, we must also preserve and protect sharks.

Those inspired by Kylie’s story may adopt a shark as part of the Aquarium’s Adopt an Animal program.