Actress Emily Deschanel, star of the popular Fox TV series “Bones,” has taken on a new role as narrator of a powerful video that drives home the real numbers behind the slaughter on the high seas of marine species.
Produced by The Humane Society of the United States, the creatively animated short piece raises awareness of crucial protections urgently required for marine animals, including polar bears, sharks, whales and turtles.
The international commercial wildlife trade has a heavy impact on marine animals’ survival and is responsible for the decline of wild populations of a number of marine species. The video’s release coincides with a major international conservation meeting that takes place every few years, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, where decisions are made by 178 nations on regulations for international trade.
“I think that people invariably respond to the bare facts and that’s why I hope this video will make viewers, most importantly, the delegates at CITES, sit up and take note of the shocking numbers of marine animals that are being decimated. Not only is this an animal protection concern, but it is also of immense importance to the overall health of our oceans,” says Deschanel.
Through March 14 in Bangkok, CITES member countries are meeting to decide which species should be protected, and to impose controls or bans on their international commercial trade by adding them to one of the treaty’s appendices. An animal (or a plant) placed on Appendix I of CITES receives the highest level of protection – international commercial trade in its parts and products is effectively banned. An animal or plant listed on Appendix II allows for international trade, but with regulations.
A delegation from The HSUS and its global affiliate Humane Society International is at the meeting, championing more than 40 proposals to provide greater protections for wildlife. Some of the marine life proposals include advocating for the transfer of the threatened polar bear, the freshwater sawfish and the African manatee to Appendix I; the African manatee is the only manatee species currently without top-level protection. The HSUS and HSI also support the U.S.-backed proposal to list the oceanic whitetip shark and proposals by other countries to list porbeagle sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays on Appendix II.
“Like the intelligent, tenacious character she portrays in “Bones,” Emily is respected as a dedicated animal advocate, who is always willing to go that extra mile to take action for what she believes in. We are so grateful that she agreed to voice our video at such a crucial time for marine animals," says Beverly Kaskey, senior director, HSUS Hollywood Outreach program.
The HSUS and HSI work on a number of campaigns to protect marine species. Among other efforts, they fight to maintain the moratorium on commercial whaling, to end the finning of sharks, and to protect sea turtles and the endangered right whale from ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement. They also work to improve the welfare of captive marine mammals and ultimately to end their public display, as well as to end the slaughter of harp seals in Canada and the shooting of sea lions on the U.S. West Coast who are killed for eating salmon.