Patrons will receive unprecedented access to whale shark research & conservation work

Dr. Simon Pierce, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), has launched a new Patreon crowdfunding campaign to help create global protection for the Earth’s largest fish: the endangered whale shark.

Patrons will receive unprecedented access to Simon and MMF’s expert whale shark team’s work. They’ll receive private access to the team’s latest findings, long before they’re published. They’ll have the opportunity to join researchers in the field via live streams and regular updates, and have priority access to join expeditions to iconic locations such as the Galapagos Islands and Komodo National Park. Donors interested in supporting whale shark conservation can choose from the range of tiers available, starting from just $3 per month (tax deductible for US residents):

  • PENGUINS ($3 or more per month): Full access to all updates, including live streams from the field, photos and videos, see the latest scientific results as they come in, and chat to the team directly about what they mean. Basically, you can watch and laugh as MMF scientists totally geek out.
  • SEA TURTLES ($9 or more per month): Full access to updates (see above), and you get to adopt your very own whale shark! You’ll receive personalised updates when your shark is seen again.
  • MANTA RAYS ($49 or more per month): Full access to updates, adopt your very own whale shark, and you’ll also get free access to a bunch of upcoming content!
  • WHALE SHARKS ($99 or more per month): All of the above… and you’ll get to name a whale shark of your very own! The scientists will photo-identify your shark for you and you can choose its name. Sharky McSharkface? No judgement.
  • ERM… DOUBLE WHALE SHARKS ($199 or more per month): Our highest-level supporters ($200+ per month) will ALSO get a personal acknowledgement – if you’re amenable – on the team’s scientific publications, which is rather prestigious.

The new Patreon campaign offers a deeper way for people to invest in producing the science, education and conservation initiatives needed for whale sharks to recover.

Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, can grow up to about 20 m (65 ft) in length and reach around 40 tons in weight. These plankton-feeders are totally harmless to humans and it’s possible to dive or swim with them in total safety. However, they are now a globally endangered species. Overfishing, accidental catches and ship strikes have killed more than half of the world’s whale sharks since the 1980s.

Simon and his team are working hard to help whale sharks recover. They collaborate with national governments to create and enforce effective protection for the species, partner with fishing communities to move towards sustainable fishing techniques, and promote best-practice ecotourism that benefits the sharks while also allowing people to swim with these gentle giants. The team have published 26 (and counting) scientific papers on whale shark biology, ecology and conservation, as well as innumerable articles for the interested public. They have extensive knowledge about how to help the species recover, but need support from the public to help them achieve their mission.

Dr. Simon Pierce, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, said: “Our shark research and conservation work, underway since 2005, has been getting spectacular results. We’ve had amazing public support. I’m hugely proud of the work we’ve done to date.

“Funding these efforts, though, has been an ongoing struggle. So, we’re now building a community of supporters that share our desire to save Earth’s largest fish. We are asking members of the public to become part of this project, with donations from just $3 a month.

“You’ll be joining forces with a small, dedicated team of expert researchers that are working every day to make the world a better place. You’ll get personal updates from global leaders in marine biology and conservation, and you’ll be helping to save the world’s amazing marine wildlife. If you’re able to help, we’ll be super grateful. The whale sharks will be freakin’ stoked.”

For more information or to become a donor, please visit: https://www.patreon.com/simonjpierce.

– Ends –

For more information, images or an interview with an MMF spokesperson, please contact: media@marinemegafauna.org

About Marine Megafauna Foundation:

MMF’s vision is a world in which marine life and humans thrive together and we aspire to attain it by saving threatened marine life. Our target group is marine megafauna, which is vital to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. When we protect ocean giants, we also achieve an umbrella protection for a wide variety of marine species. Consequently, we target coastal communities that represent the biggest threat to these species and, as a result, to their own food security. Through our 4 pillars, we provide an integrated solution: by using our research findings to educate and inspire the masses, we gather the necessary tools to provide sustainable marine conservation strategies for communities and policy makers to bring about lasting positive change. Finally, by empowering, informing and giving a voice to local communities, we help to create a generation of Ocean Ambassadors and Guardians, who cherish and understand the marine ecosystem.

For further details, please see https://marinemegafaunafoundation.org/ or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For information about our local projects, you can also follow our Western Indian Ocean Facebook page.