Do angels exist? Not for much longer unless we act now

Joanna Barker

Meet the European angel shark. A flatter version of many of its more famous shark relatives, it spends a lot of time waiting on the seabed, using its outstanding camouflage as a means to ambush prey.

Angel shark duo
 

Jaws it isn’t, but it still makes a ferocious predator. Having waited still for many hours for a fish to swim past, it can lash out and capture its prey in a tenth of a second.
 
Sadly, as much as it might seem like the angel can look after itself, it currently needs all the help it can get. 

Angel sharks were once an important predator across much of Europe’s oceans, but are now extinct from much of their former range due to practices like bottom trawling which have intensified over the past 100 years. As a result of their dramatic decline, they were classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List in 2006. 

Time is running out

Thankfully, a last remaining stronghold exists in the Canary Islands. But in order to protect angel sharks in these waters, we urgently need to  gather data on their distribution and areas which are important for their lifecycle - for example, key pupping grounds. 

The remaining population is also under serious threat due to lethal handling techniques adopted by the rapidly expanding sportfishing industry. Sportfishers are not intentionally putting this incredible species at risk. Many angel shark deaths are down to lack of education about protection and handling of the species. 

Act now to save angels 

This is where the Angel Shark Project team* (and hopefully you) come in. We have been working closely with the diving community to gather sightings of angel sharks across the Canary Islands and started working with sportfishers in 2015. We want to expand our education project with these communities and we desperately need your help to do this. 

To grow our project we need funding, and we have a chance to win some from the European Outdoor Conservation Association. We just need enough votes to win it.

So here’s your chance to take a few seconds and play your part in saving a shark species. 

Click here and cast your vote for angels

Help us spread the word

Once you’ve voted, if you want to do a little extra for angels, share the link online using the hashtag #vote4angels

Whether we’re voting, educating, or fishing, if we act now we might just be able to make sure angels exist for future generations to enjoy.

Find out more about angel shark conservation.

Vote to save angel sharks. 

* The Angel Shark project team is made up of ZSL, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig  

 

Select a blog

Asia Conservation Programme

Get the latest on ZSL's conservation work in Asia.

B.U.G.S Blog

Find out more about life in our B.U.G.S exhibit

Artefact of the month

Every month one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the month.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

A new Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.

ZSL Shop

See the latest ranges, updates and special offers from our exciting new online shop.

Wild About Magazine

Excerpts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine.

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo. Bringing you amazing animal facts and exclusive access to the world's scientific oldest zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Discover more about the UK's biggest zoo with our fun blog posts!

Discovery and Learning in the Field

Join the ZSL Discovery and Learning team as they venture out of the zoo and in to the wild.

Conservation

Catch up on our latest Conservation Blogs

Elephantastic!

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's elephant keepers give an insight into the daily goings on in the elephant barn.

Tiger conservation

Read about conservation of tigers in Asia.

Videographer Blog

One man is boldly going where no other ZSL videographer has gone before - the land of Mountain Chicken Frogs.

Wild Science

From the field, to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Wildlife Wood Project Cameroon

The Wildlife Wood Project has been working in Cameroon since 2007 to encourage better wildlife management in logging concessions.

Penguin expedition blog

Updates from penguin conservation expeditions to Antarctica

Amur Leopard

Amur leopard conservation blog

Baby Giraffe Diaries

Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's latest (and leggiest) arrival, a baby giraffe!

Biodiversity and Palm Oil

Follow the ZSL Biodiversity and Palm Oil team, based in Bogor, Indonesia.

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos marine reserve, designated in 2010 and currently the world’s largest no take marine reserve, is a sought-after spot for marine research.

Science

Science blogs

Tsaobis Baboon Blog

Follow ZSL conservationists studying desert baboons in Namibia.