I recently read a Huffington Post article that cited research estimating that 100 million sharks are killed annually. Most of the slaughter is the result of “finning,” a cruel and wasteful practice in which hunters slice off the living shark’s fin(s), causing the lame fish to drown or be eaten by other predators. The fins are sold for shark fin soup.
The article stuck with me. I thought about it for days. It occurred to me that it’s nearly impossible to appreciate a number as large as 100 million without context. It somehow had to be made visual if people were going to wrap their heads around the enormity of the figure.
So I sent a Facebook message to Robin Richards, the head of design firm ripetungi and one of the world’s premier infographic designers. I shared my idea for a graphic that did one thing: exposed the outrageous ratio of the number of people sharks kill to the number of sharks people kill. We riffed on a few ideas, Robin mocked up some comps, which we refined together. Then he did what he always does: he nailed it.
The great irony is that the shark is arguably the most feared animal on the planet, yet whereas they killed 12 people last year (a peak year), we kill that many every four seconds. Please share this infographic and check out the organizations listed in the footer. Maybe with enough support we can do something to curb finning and protect the ocean’s apex predator.