The Great White Lie

Project type: Conference, Movie projection
Date: June 14, 2012 – TEDx* WWF – One Planet Living
Location: INSEAD, Singapore
Project target: Share with a worldwide audience the paradox of anthropomorphisation of animals
Team: William Winram
Participants to conference: worldwide live internet broadcast

WWF Singapore organized a TEDx event in INSEAD Singapore, with the theme One Planet Living. What better time and place to speak about the plight of sharks?

“Two of the top 10 shark-catching countries in the world, Indonesia and Malaysia, are found in the Coral Triangle and sharks are known to be taken as a target species and/or as by-catch in other Coral Triangle countries.”

INSEAD Singapore is one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools. Altogether, there were eight speakers from around the planet giving a talk.
William’s TEDx talk “The Great White Lie” ** can be be viewed below:

Other videos of this event can be viewed here.

William Winram would like to thank everyone at the WWF International, WWF Singapore and INSEAD for the opportunity to speak on behalf of sharks.

* TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “Ideas Worth Spreading.” TEDx events are programs of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

** Original title by Danielle Chidlow

Aliwal Shoal ’12

Project type: Expedition
Dates: February 19-28 & May 23-31, 2012
Location: Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
Base: Mark & Gail Addison, Blue Wilderness, Durban
Project target: DNA sampling from black tip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus)
Lead scientist: Jessica Escobar-Porras PhD (c)
DND sampling team: Fred Buyle & William Winram
Sea life: abundant


Carcharhinus limbatus

Jessica Escobar-Porras’ research involves an examination of the relationship between population structures and reproductive strategies present in sharks inhabiting temperate and subtropical waters. She hopes to make inferences based on the variance between ovoviparous, oviparous and viviparous shark populations. The three species that are being used in her study are ragged-tooth, black tip and catsharks. THE WATERMEN PROJECT participated in the study of the black tip sharks.

Fred Buyle and William Winram conducted DNA sample collection on a breath-hold using non-lethal biopsy guns.

Fred Buyle as he is about to take a DNA sample from a black tip shark - Photo William Winram

Fred Buyle as he is about to take a DNA sample from a black tip shark – Photo William Winram

Jessica Escobar-Porras says: “An interesting element of this research project is the level of international involvement from various stakeholders in the exploration of an innovative conservation strategy. In addition, information obtained from field trips involves the use of free diving techniques – essentially, divers do not use any breathing apparatus or cages popularly associated with shark diving.”

Escobar-Porras, who hails from Medellin in Colombia, says she chose to study in South Africa because of its amazing biodiversity. She came to South Africa to learn techniques and obtain specialist knowledge in a country very fortunate in terms of its shark population and hopes to set up her own institute for marine studies and conservation in Colombia, in partnership with her South African colleagues.

Along its mission for the scientist, THE WATERMEN PROJECT team always takes the time to take photographs so as to establish a catalogue of the individuals which are studied.

Fred Buyle taking a photograph of a sampled black tip shark - Photo William Winram

Fred Buyle taking a photograph of a sampled black tip shark – Photo William Winram