Paul de Gelder of California had his life changed in a dramatic and painful way when he lost two limbs in a shark attack while on a routine exercise as an elite Australian Navy clearance diver in February 2009.
However, instead of wanting nothing to do with sharks, de Gelder developed a passion for learning all he could about them and saving them worldwide.
De Gelder’s passion for shark conservation stems from the “ripple effect” their existence has on humans.
He believes that if he, someone who knew nothing about sharks and didn’t care about them, could work out how important they are to the oceans, the ecosystems, and us as well, then surely his passion for the subject will relay to other people so that they’ll want to understand and learn more and protect these animals as well.
De Gelder’s mission is to show people the other side of sharks and share his amazing stories about them so that they’ll potentially fall in love with them and want to protect them, just like he and his friends on the “Shark Week” do. He’s doing this through motivational speaking, his new book Shark: Why We Need to Save the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator, his work for the Discovery Channel on “Shark Week,” and countless other endeavors.
De Gelder’s fear and determination to prove that he could still do his job, despite his injuries motivated him to learn all about sharks. During his recovery, he learned all about them and used all the tools at his disposal, including technology and prosthetics, to help him walk and exercise again. He left full-time military service in 2012 and now lives in Los Angeles, traveling around America speaking and working on “Shark Week” for the Discovery Channel.
In his view, the most important thing we can do to save sharks is to change the way we think about them. He believes that if we fall in love with sharks, we’ll want to protect them, and he encourages everyone to learn more about these fascinating creatures and their importance in the ocean’s ecosystem.
So, join Paul de Gelder in his mission to save sharks. Learn more about them, share your newfound knowledge with others, and work together to protect these misunderstood predators. Together we can make a difference.
Sign this petition to tell all CITES participating countries to prepare to enforce new protections and shark fishing bans!
This article by Nicholas Vincent was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 24 January 2023.
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