"When the buying stops, the killing can stop, too."
If there is a diminishing demand for rhino horns, elephant tusks, tiger furs and bones, bear claws and bile, and sharks' fins, then the poaching and killing of endangered animals will gradually decline.
This was the message of Peter Knights, a British environmentalist and conservationist running the San Francisco-based WildAid, as he spoke in Taipei to mark the considerable progress made in the campaign to save endangered species.
WildAid lost a dear friend this week as author and ocean advocate Peter Benchley sadly passed away, aged 65. Our condolences and best wishes are with his wife, Wendy, and the rest of their family in Princeton, New Jersey.
Peter had been seriously ill since last year, but when I last spoke to him we had hoped that his health would return and we were looking forward to traveling together again and perhaps even getting to dive with sharks, as he would have been writing an article about our work to protect sharks in the Galapagos and Asia.
In Ecuador, celebrities don't come more celebrated than Alex Aguinaga, the country's most widely recognized soccer star and one of its most respected citizens.
So Ecuadorians took notice last October when Aguinaga—along with the coach and four other top players of the country's World Cup-bound national team—launched a petition drive aimed at pressing the government to curb the wholesale killing of sharks.
Early every morning, the cold water lapping up on the beach here is stained red with blood as surly, determined men in ragged T-shirts drag hundreds of shark carcasses off wooden skiffs and onto the white sand.
Using eight-inch boning knives with quick precision, they dismember the once-mighty predators, cutting off heads, carving up big slabs of meat, slashing off the tails. Most important, they cut off the fins - dorsal and pectorals - a "set" that can fetch $100 or more.
The scoresheet reads Sharks 1, Mickey Mouse 0. In what was seen as a monumental climbdown by the directors of the world's magical wonderland, Disney announced Friday it will not be serving the traditional shark's fin soup at its Chinese wedding banquets when the Hong Kong theme park opens September 12.