Shark-related non-profits say they are seeing many first-time donors give money, citing President Trump as their reason for donating

By Kelli Bender
January 24, 2018 04:21 PM
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The fins win, at least for now.

Following claims that President Donald Trump told adult film star Stormy Daniels that he hopes “all the sharks die,” during their alleged sexual affair, there has been a surge in donations to shark conservation charities, reports MarketWatch.

In a recently revisited 2011 In Touch Weekly interview, Daniels told the magazine that Trump said, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.”

The alleged comment has led to an outpouring of shark love according to shark-related non-profits Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

“We have been receiving donations in Trump’s name since the story was published,” Cynthia Wilgren, chief executive officer and co-founder of Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told MarketWatch.

Wilgren added that most of the recent donations came from first-time donors, a big win for charities that can have trouble raising money for an animal that is often feared.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has also seen numerous donations come in specifically mentioning Trump. While the group’s founder, Captain Paul Watson, sees the president’s reported comments as “ignorant,” he is pleased to see the news story transform into a positive moment for sharks.

“Anything that focuses attention on the plight of sharks worldwide is valuable, so I guess in that way the president did good service,” Watson said.

Many think of sharks as apex predators that are threatened by very little, but the truth is over 75 million sharks are killed by humans each year, many for their fins, causing a sharp and dangerous decline in their population. And while movies like Jaws paint a gruesome picture, the truth is that sharks only kill an average of five people a year. Far fewer, Captain Watson points out, than golf balls and lightning.

A world without sharks, key players in ocean ecosystems, would be an unhealthy world for us all.