More than one million children learn about seals this week

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Yarmouth Port, MA
Some 1.2 million children in 15 countries worldwide, including 500,000 in all 50 states, will participate this year in IFAW’s (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) Animal Action Week.
“Making Waves for Seals,” is this year’s theme – focusing on seals and the many threats seals face like: pollution, habitat loss, climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, commercial hunting and extinction.

IFAW distributed interactive materials including student booklets, teacher’s guides, calendar posters and a 15 minute educational video introduced by E.R. actor Goran Visnjic to 10,500 U.S. schools and community organizations. In the past few weeks, the “Making Waves for Seals” video also aired on 450 U.S. cable stations, reaching a national audience of more than two million. IFAW’s free educational materials can also be downloaded at, www.animalactionweek.org. Additional web-based activities include the “Live Like a Seal” game and the opportunity to adopt a seal.

“Animal Action Week is the largest animal-focused educational event in the world and it is growing rapidly. In the U.S. alone, requests for our education packs have doubled since last year,” said IFAW’s Patrick Ramage. “Activities are not limited to the first week in October. We encourage schools and youth groups to join in and take action whenever it best fits into their schedule and curriculum.”

Launched annually to coincide with World Animal Day, IFAW has sponsored Animal Action Week for 14 years with topics ranging from cats and dogs to whales, elephants, seals and wildlife trade. Each year, more and more educators use IFAW’s curriculum to educate their students about animal and conservation issues. In the U.S., nearly 16,000 teachers and youth group leaders will use the “Making Waves for Seals” curriculum compared to 8,100 who implemented last year’s Animal Action Week materials.

In the past, many seal species were pushed to the brink of extinction and now one third of all seal species are listed as “at risk.” Seals are still hunted in several countries for fur and other unnecessary products. Canada’s commercial seal hunt is the largest in the world with 335,000 seals killed in 2006 alone.

IFAW was founded in 1969 to end the Canadian seal hunt and has continued to campaign to protect seals for 35 years. Seals have been protected in the U.S. since 1972 when Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits the import, export and marketing of seals and their products. Many countries are implementing similar bans on seal products including the U.K., Italy, Belgium, Mexico and the Netherlands.

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