Today, we are excited to announce the merging of Shark Savers and WildAid, a frequent-actually, a constant-partner that has stood with us since our inception.
Early in our existence, we decided that the most effective way to help sharks would be campaigning to reduce shark fin soup consumption in China. WildAid was operating in China for years at that point with a demonstrated ability to successfully deliver quality conservation campaigns. I gave WildAid's Peter Knights a call and a partnership was born.
Since that time, our partnership blossomed, most recently producing the first global study of mantas and mobulas, resulting in both manta species receiving international protection on CITES Appendix II.
So, why merge?
After careful consideration, we determined that merging with WildAid is the best way to address the urgent conservation challenges for sharks and rays. With this merger, we join together two of the best shark conservation programs; more effectively focusing our resources and your continued support.
Will the merger affect Shark Savers programs?
The Shark Savers name and programs will live on within WildAid's shark program. As a public charity, we will be known as WildAid.
I'm FINished with FINs, our campaign with WildAid to reduce shark fin soup consumption, is expanding throughout Asia. When we bring it to mainland China later this year, we will do so as one. This will combine the power of hundreds of celebrities, a popular and persuasive campaign, and WildAid's powerful media distribution capabilities and relationships.
SharksCount, our citizen science program that empowers divers and others to crowdsource their sightings of sharks, will continue within WildAid.
Our Shark and Ray Sanctuary program will combine with WildAid's Marine Protection Program.
The Manta Ray of Hope program will benefit from already functioning as a joint effort between WildAid and Shark Savers for the past 2½ years.
Shark Savers team
The extraordinarily energetic and talented Pandie Ho, Jonn Lu, and Samantha Whitcraft will now be a powerful force in WildAid's shark and marine protection programs.
Mary O'Malley and I are joining the WildAid Board of Directors. WildAid's International Advisory Board, already home to our own Shawn Heinrichs, will also welcome Shark Savers' Board Chair Wendy Benchley, and Board Directors Sue Chen and Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch. In that capacity, we will continue to maintain our focus on sharks and rays. We also look forward to being part of WildAid's expanded mission including marine protection, climate change, and reducing the demand for products from endangered elephants, rhinos, andtigers.
What does this mean for you?
We need your support now more than ever!
The job of saving sharks and rays is not done. We made remarkable progress in recent years, all of us in the shark conservation community, and we need you to continue supporting our programs.
We ask that you share the same trust and confidence you give to Shark Savers to our new home, WildAid - a 4-star Charity Navigator charity. That designation says a lot. More importantly, this merger fortifies the programs and our ability to deliver results.
The merger is pending regulatory review in California and New York. During this time, all donations to Shark Savers will be accepted (and encouraged!) and directly benefit our shark programs. When the merger is finalized, we'll further explain how you can continue to support sharks and rays by donating to WildAid.
Over the next few months our online communications will change. We will transition our e-communications to WildAid's e-newsletters where you will continue to receive programmatic updates about shark based initiatives as well as information and updates about WildAid's additional conservation efforts. We encourage Shark Savers' social media followers to begin following WildAid on Twitter (@WildAid), Facebook (/WildAid), and YouTube. Shark Savers' website will be incorporated with WildAid.org as we move forward.
Thank you so very much for your support over the years. Without you, Shark Savers could never have accomplished as much as it has globally. This merger is a transition, a graduation, and a major growth milestone, as any marriage is. We invite and welcome you to join us in our new WildAid family.
With best regards,
Michael Skoletsky Shark Savers, Executive Director and The Shark Savers Team