On November 3, Washington voters will have a chance to vote yes on Initiative 1401, a Washington State ballot measure that is designed to help save animals threatened with extinction.
Sea turtles, sharks and manta rays are the marine species that would be protected by the passage of the initiative. Their populations are in serious decline worldwide; they are being hunted to death. If passed, I-1401 will prohibit the trade of these animals (and/or their parts) in Washington State and reduce our state's contribution to the illegal poaching and animal trafficking that are dramatically reducing their populations in the wild. The initiative would also protect land-based animals including elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs and pangolins.
A few facts about the marine animals that would receive protection under I-1401:
Sea turtles: All seven sea turtle species are endangered, three of them critically so. Hunting and illegal egg collection are a major factor in the decline of these beautiful aquatic creatures; it is estimated that more than 80,000 are killed each year.
Sharks: According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a quarter of the world’s shark species are threatened with extinction due to overfishing—every year, over 100 million sharks are slaughtered. Many are killed by the cruel practice of finning, where sharks have their fins sliced off while they’re alive and are then thrown back into the water where, unable to swim, they slowly die.
Manta rays: Over the last decade, a spike in demand for the gills of rays has led to a massive decline in population; up to 50 percent in some areas. Because the gills fetch a high price in certain markets, the killing continues unabated.
Why is it important for the Seattle Aquarium support the passage of this measure? Says President & CEO Robert W. Davidson,
Our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment compels us to strongly support Initiative 1401. By strengthening protections against trafficking in products from these increasingly endangered animals, we can help to save sharks, manta rays and sea turtles, and protect our ocean life.
Washington voters, click here to learn more—and please support this important measure. The turtles, sharks and rays thank you!