June 8, 2020
By Erica Rymer, Events and Marketing Coordinator
In years past the Akron Zoo has celebrated Earth Day, Endangered Species Day and World Oceans Day during Party for the Planet, a conservation-centered event hosted in late April. For the safety of our animals and guests, the Akron Zoo was unable to offer an in-person event this April, but that doesn’t mean the environment no longer needs our help! You can help us #SpringIntoAction by celebrating World Oceans Day at home!
World Oceans Day is celebrated on June 8 each year. Its purpose is to remind people of the major role the oceans play in our everyday lives. Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and provide most of the oxygen we breathe. In 2020, World Oceans Day is promoting a global movement called “30x30,” which asks world leaders to protect 30% of the world’s ocean habitats by 2030. It is incredibly important that we consider how human actions affect our ocean habitats because the ocean is shared by everyone.
However, you don’t need to be a world leader to help us make a change. One way you can celebrate World Oceans Day from home is learning about marine animals. Sharks and rays, for example, are two of the AZA’s designated SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) Species. The SAFE program is a partnership between all AZA accredited zoos and aquariums to use their collective expertise for the conservation of critically endangered species. Marine animals such as sharks and rays, as well as African penguins, sea turtles and vaquita are all threatened with extinction. You can help by learning about your local zoo’s SAFE species and taking action to further their conservation efforts.
Another practical step you can take to protect our oceans is making sustainable seafood choices. Many marine animals are in danger because of unsustainable fishing practices. Some practices allow marine populations to be depleted beyond their ability to reproduce, such as the great hammerhead shark, who is often targeted for its fins. By purchasing responsibly sourced fish and crustaceans you can support the ocean as part of your regular routine! Download the seafood watch app (http://mbayaq.co/2aHaUtN) to check that your seafood is sustainable. This app, designed by experts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, helps you make sound decisions in selecting seafood that helps support a healthy ocean. You can also visit Seafood Watch (http://www.seafoodwatch.org/) to make the commitment to responsible shopping, and to ask others to join you!
So, stay current this World Oceans Day, and join us in protecting the largest ecosystem on Earth! By coming together, we can make a difference for the ocean and all of its residents!