One of the challenges facing Conservation groups is making the public care about animals that don’t look cute or cuddly. We faced it recently with a campaign to save the Long Finned Eel. Our petition after considerable time and pushing has just 16,000 signatures. Compare that with our petition to stop seal clubbing in Namibia, that after a similar time had amassed over 100,000 signatures.
I was somewhat surprised then to see the recent announcement by New Zealand’s Minister of Fisheries increasing protection of the Long Finned Eel. It does go to show we are capable of raising issues in the public domain and pressuring our governments, even for non-fluffy animals. It also highlights the need for us to use social media and make the public care. I often get disillusioned with people. Most simply don’t care about animals or wildlife. They are busy watching football teams, buying a new car, planning a holiday to the Bahamas – Signing a petition or donating to a cause is just not on their radar. But the good news is, as we’ve seen on the Long Finned Eel campaign, that many of you do care, and we are able to make a difference.
I should point out that the Long Finned eel is not saved yet. Far from it. They will no longer be commercially harvested in 4 of the 6 catchment regions of New Zealand’s South Island. But they can still be harvested in 2 South Island and the all North Island regions. Our goal in this is to get the eels fully protected. Which means no commercial harvesting. Period.
The long finned eel is amazing in so many ways.
* The largest, and longest living fresh water feel in the world
* Females often don’t breed until they are well over 100 years old.
* They swim thousands of miles to breed once and then die
* The apex predator of New Zealand’s freshwater ecosystem
It is great to see the Long-Finned Eel getting some love. But we need to get them fully protected. If you haven’t signed our petition to stop all commercial harvesting of the Eel please go to our petition