Many wildlife organizations are working to save sharks, but it hasn’t been easy. Every year, about 100 humans are bitten by sharks, and accounts of these attacks can be terrifying. People look at a photo of a shark—the blood-red mouth, the sharp teeth—and see only a deadly monster.
But considering that 75 million people swim in the ocean every year, shark attacks are extremely rare. A beachgoer is far more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than by a shark.
Still, wildlife organizations have had to find creative ways to persuade people to care about sharks. One group, WildAid, came up with an ingenious idea. WildAid’s leaders realized that few Chinese people were aware that sharks were dying in huge numbers—for soup.
To raise awareness of the problem, WildAid created advertisements in which Chinese celebrities explained that the world’s sharks were in danger.
The ads were tremendously successful. In 2012, China banned shark fin soup from official dinners. Today, many young Chinese people are refusing to serve the soup at their weddings.
Experts report that the demand for shark fins is considerably lower now. In some parts of China, shark fin sales have decreased by 80 percent.