Was CITES COP16 a game-changer for online outreach at wildlife management meetings?

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As 16th Conference of the Parties of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES COP16, pronounced sight-eze) comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on something that made this meeting unlike almost any other wildlife conservation and management meeting in history. Yes, history was made as delegates voted to list commercially exploited shark species for the first time, and history was made when manta rays became the first shark or ray species  to be listed under CITES the first time they were proposed, and that’s all fantastic news. However, what I believe made CITES COP16 a game-changer for wildlife conservation and management was the large-scale inclusion of online outreach by both attendees and organizers. For the first time ever, interested members of the public from all over the world could follow along (and to some degree, participate) in real time.

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Send testimony to help protect Guam’s sharks!

The sharks of Guam need your help! Bill number 44-31, which would make selling or possessing shark fins illegal in Guam, was just introduced by members of the Senate. The Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the bill next Tuesday night Guam time, which is Monday night our time.

This bill is expected to face strong opposition from the fishing industry, which has a powerful voice.  However, you can help! You send a letter in support of this policy to Shark Defenders, and they will make sure that it gets into the right hands.  Many of the letters will be read out loud as testimony, and receiving a large number of letters in support of the law will be a big help!

Please send these letters to Info AT SharkDefenders DOT com by Monday afternoon U.S. East Coast time (sooner would be better).

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