Andy Comfort – Colin Brown
Fundraising today is The Deep, Hull’s Submarium. Who are raising money to help save the endangered Galapagos sea lion. Colin Brown is Chief Executive of The Deep, afternoon Colin.
So why have you picked the Galapagos sea lion then?
Well we were approached by the local Lions Club, they are coming up to their 100th anniversary and they wanted to work with us on a conservation project and they are District C – sea lion – see what they did there?! So we started to do some research with some friends of ours at The Galapagos Conservation Trust and it turns out that, like so many Galapagos species, the Galapagos sea lion is under threat. Its numbers have gone down by about 60% in a generation but the reality is we don’t quite know why so we suggested that we could raise money for that project – try and get some more science.
You talked there about the Galapagos Conservation Trust, you have worked with them previously haven’t you because you’ve worked with the penguins?
That’s right yeah we did some really good work with them on the Galapagos penguin when we got our new display and that worked really well, I think we were probably their biggest donor to that campaign. So yeah we’ve got the contacts there.
Alright so when you say the contacts what are you doing then? What actual help are you giving to them?
There’s two aspects to it really, both are trying to find out what’s behind this decline. The first one is the effects of El Nino and to try to find out how the change in the ocean currents is affecting their food supply, and the second theory revolves around marine plastics. There’s been a lot of publicity lately about plastic bags, so we’re going to be doing some work out there with the local community and also some scientists who monitor the amount of marine plastics can see if that’s actually getting into their stomachs and stopping them feeding.
And people might not realise that its quite a lot of what you do at The Deep isn’t it. Obviously people come round and they see the penguins and the sharks and all the fish, but theres a lot going on behind the scenes in terms of research and supporting research.
Yes it’s a constant refrain of ours really that, we are known as a visitor attraction and that’s great but we are a major player in marine conservation – we’re still working on a project at the moment in Sudan and are working with the Cousteau Foundation – we are the only aquarium in the world that they will work with because of our ethical stance and we’re working out there on the giant manta rays. We’ve been working on coral propagation, basically creating a coral arc, taking gametes when they spawn, being able to grow those in captivity and all of our captive breeding programmes that we do – that’s a big part of our work.
So this project here, looking after the Galapagos sea lion, how are you raising the money?
Well we think the Lions Clubs themselves are going to do a lot of fundraising out in the community. We have created a t-shirt which is on sale now where the profits will go to this project. We’ve also done a hemp bag (again trying to stop the use of plastic bags) so that’s got the logos on it, we’ll be selling those at The Deep and on our website. And we’ve got collection boxes around The Deep and you’d be surprised how much money they raise so hopefully we’ll get enough money to make a difference, get some monitoring of their population done and take the work forward.
Finally we must just plug again if people want to find out a bit more then about the Galapagos Conservation Trust and the sea lions, what’s the best thing if they want to help.
Well if they want to help they can either get in touch with ourselves at the Deep, then they can go onto our website campaign on Just Giving which is the deep/sealion or they can get in touch with us at the Deep, either myself or one of our fundraisers and we’ll find out ways in which they can help us as well.
Brilliant good luck with that and thank you very much indeed Colin.
These two articles just demonstrates that our District is taking an active part in the Centennial programme and in caring about the protection of an endangered species.
We need to ask all Clubs in the District to take this Centennial Project on board and hopefully contribute financially to it.
PDG Lion Bryan Riley
District 105C Centennial Officer