Seals Telling Their Own Story

Posted on May 2, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

How do we make conservation work better for us all?

Conservation movements have tried a plethora of campaigns over the years. We hear a lot from the people who want to protect animals and very little from the animals themselves.

Crittercam on the back of a Monk Seal
Source: NOAA

How can animals become their own storytellers? With the help of National Geographic’s Crittercam, a small camera harmlessly attached to an animal’s back, we are able to help conserve animal populations with data that is as close to the source as you can get.

When their monk seal population began to increase, one community in Hawaii decided to turn to turn to the seals for answers.

Fishermen were fearful fish populations would begin to decline. Misinformation swirled around the community leading to the deaths of many seals. Government intervention could only do so much to quell the unease.

In stepped a group of researchers with a new way of understanding the impact the seals would have on fish populations, the Crittercam. What’s more, they decided that instead of processing the footage themselves, they would give it to local school children. Thus deputising them to become activists in their own community.

Here is National Geographic with this remarkable story…

Empowering youth…

What would a world look like if we spent more time empowering children to be the guardians of their own communities?

The Crittercam was an integral part of spreading awareness, but the students were the ones who became advocates. Children have the power to reshape the behavior of the adults around them in profound ways.

Children have been the leaders in some of our greatest environmental campaigns. By informing youth and deputising them to be environmental caretakers, we have the power to make long lasting change.

I look forward to a future that is lead and spearheaded by the generation of tomorrow.

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV