In October, 2007, three dynamic shark conservationists from different organizations came together on a project of passion to show the world a new perspective on sharks in the Bahamas. Dubbed the Shark Angels, Julie Andersen, Alison Kock and Kim McCoy got into the water with over a dozen tiger sharks and countless lemon sharks, with a team of friends and cameramen - Rob Stewart - Sharkwater, Eric Cheng - Wet Pixel, Shawn Heinrichs - Blue Sphere Media, Jim Abernethy - Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures, and Christoper Chin - COARE who captured the event.
They believed that when the world came face to fin with the “world’s most dangerous sharks” with them, they would realize, that sharks aren’t the enemies - the only thing we have to fear is ourselves. A short film was released on the Internet, and Julie, Alison and Kim continued gaining media attention – and more importantly, the project ignited a movement around the world. What started as a video project in the Bahamas achieved even greater potential. People, energized by the Angels’ passion, began reaching out and asking to get involved, and Shark Angels began to evolve beyond much more than just a small collaboration.
For the five years, the grassroots movement has grown and the Angels have relied upon one another to tackle shark issues around the globe and rally around sharks. The Angels also incorporated kids into the movement, starting Shark Cherubs as a way to get future generations involved. While Shark Angels was started by a woman, it has expanded to include anyone who is passionate about sharks, the oceans, animals or simply conservation, and wants to translate that passion into action. We even have our own version of Charlie.
The Shark Angels have accomplished much thru sheer willpower, donated time and grassroots campaigns, including heightening awareness and changing perspectives, the creation of a robust, edgy but educational, conservation toolkit, the formation of a global network of Angels over 10,000 strong, media in many global publications and programs in France, South Africa, the US, the UK, Japan, and Spain taking the issues facing sharks into the mainstream, the development of a very strong brand identity with world wide recognition (people want to be shark angels), the creation of a line of apparel, and the deployment of world-wide campaigns that are having measurable results on shark populations world-wide, like Fin Free, Operation Requiem, and Remove the Nets. All of this has been personally fueled through passion - and time and personal funds donated by Angels. Thousands of hours and over a hundred thosand dollars have been personally invested to build the Shark Angel community, campaigns and organization.
Kim, Alison and Julie still remain strong allies and friends that represent some of the first angels and others around the world continue to look to them for inspiration. And Shark Angels maintains good relationships with many other conservation organizations. Yet, it has become so much bigger than that – and is now a positively-fueled, empowered, connected movement led by thousands of angels world-wide acting locally on behalf of an animal who desperately needs our help.
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