Jeff Corwin talks sharks

Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
December 04, 2012

Sharks are among the most feared of all the world's predators, yet humans kill tens of millions of sharks for every person who falls victim to shark attack. Part of our fear stems from lack of understanding.

A new eBook however tries to change that. Jeff Corwin, an Emmy Award Winning TV host, has this week released Jeff's Explorer Series: SHARKS, the first of a new eBook series, which Corwin likens to the 21st century version of an encyclopedia. The eBook is rich with video, images, and text. It is narrated by Corwin.

To introduce the Jeff's Explorer Series: SHARKS, Corwin answered a few questions from mongabay.com.


mongabay.com: What was your inspiration for the eBook series and what do you hope to accomplish?

Jeff Corwin: This eBook series, a first of its kind was created for kids, families, educators and anyone passionate about nature, focuses on introducing both marine and terrestrial species to readers which are rarely explored in other publications, presenting them in a new light with never before seen video footage, showing the species in their natural habitats. The series aims to educate readers about the ecology and biodiversity of life on our planet in a fun, engaging and conversational style.

Readers are invited on a one-on-one journey into the natural world of sharks with Jeff as their personal guide looking at iconic shark species fusing Jeff’s signature narrative and editorial voice.

Our vision for this series is to focus on the three dimensions of Education, Environment and Technology to create learning experiences making science more approachable and fun for kids and families.

mongabay.com: How many eBooks do you plan to publish?

Jeff Corwin: Jeff's Explorer Series: SHARKS is one of numerous upcoming titles including Wild Cats (expected to launch in 1Q2013), Primates, Snakes and Penguins (in rest of 2013) which will allow readers to own digital collections much like the old days where print editions and encyclopedias were part of every home library and a great source of knowledge. Eventually we hope to cover hundreds of species to build a real base of knowledge and library.

mongabay.com: Why sharks and why now?

Jeff Corwin: In our first eBook, we look at Sharks who have been around for more than 400 million years, yet they may be the most misunderstood animals. Without sharks, our world wouldn’t be the same. Sharks enjoy the same position in the sea that humans do on land. They are apex predators sitting at the top of the food chain in the ocean, which covers 70% of earth’s surface. They keep our aquatic ecosystems balanced by preventing overpopulation of other species and controlling the spread of disease by feeding on dead or dying sea creatures. They survived mass extinctions that killed the dinosaurs, but today these ancient animals that withstood the test of time for millions of years are facing their biggest challenge—humans.

In this eBook, we hope that the reader will come away with a better appreciation for these amazing creatures that are so vital to our aquatic ecosystems.

mongabay.com: What do you see as the key steps to reducing our impact on shark populations?

Jeff Corwin: Quoted from the eBook where we focused not just on education and advocacy but also have given readers simple ways to do their part and be responsible global citizens :

Despite the ongoing conservation efforts, shark populations are dwindling due to continued fishing and lack of stronger laws. We all can do our part to help these amazing creatures. Below are a few ways you can help.
  • Do not purchase any products containing shark parts, including shark leather goods, jewelry made of shark teeth, and ornamental jaws.
  • Do not consume foods or supplements containing shark parts.
  • Do not buy cosmetics containing squalene, a compound obtained from shark liver oil.
  • Tons of non-biodegradable waste ends up in our ocean every day. Reduce water pollution by limiting usage of plastic bags and bottles. Get reusable bottles, use cloth shopping bags and recycle plastic products.
  • Do not buy single-serving or single-use plastic items.
  • Support local efforts to ban the sale of shark fin soup at restaurants.
  • Visit your nearest aquarium. Giant tanks with walk-through tunnels allow people to get up close to these awe-inspiring creatures.
  • Stay informed of the most up-to-date research and policy advancements on sharks. Support organizations like Ocean Conservancy, Shark Trust, Shark Alliance, Save our Sharks, Shark Research Institute, Shark Savers, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
We have the power to make sure that these amazing sea creatures remain a part of earth’s future for millions of years to come.

mongabay.com: How does JeffCorwinConnect plan to distribute this series to bring this content to the masses?

Jeff Corwin: The eBooks are available on all reader and tablet platforms and available now on iTunes, Amazon, B&N.com and store.vook.com/jeffcorwin. They can also be read online.

JeffCorwinConnect is a social enterprise. Through all our initiatives and programs, we want to support our partners working in conservation and education. We do this by donating a part of the profits generated from products like this eBook and the rest of the Series to our partner organizations that help us distribute this very valuable content to their communities. If you are a corporation, not-for-profit organization, zoo, aquarium or school and would like to partner with us to either produce an eBook for your specific cause or species or to bring this Series to your community, members and students, please contact us at contact (at) jeffcorwinconnect.com.

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Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com (December 04, 2012).

Jeff Corwin talks sharks.