My Life as a Marine Wildlife Manager

When speaking to groups about my upcoming book (release date Aug. 17, 2020) I am often asked “how did I become interested in Human/ Marine Wildlife conflict resolution”?  The answer lays in my childhood growing up on the Jersey Shore and spending summers in Jamestown, Rhode Island. Each summer day I would head to the beach and spend my mornings splashing in the breakers. Each morning I get the same warning to “beware of the undertow”. I honestly thought the undertow was a creature. In my head it was Under-Toe and surely grabbed unsuspecting children by the tow pulling them to a watery death. The first time a crab took hold of me I was sure I was under attack. As silly as it sounds it took me a while to realize the undertow was not a creature, but rip current. And it indeed was dangerous and should be treated with respect. But I did learn at an early age there were dangers at the shore. I started to read about sharks and other creatures and my interest grew. In time I went to college and majored in Biology here on the Jersey Shore. From there my studies took me to South Africa to receive a certificate in Wildlife Management with a specialization in human/ animal conflict resolution. From there I studied Marine & Coastal Guiding in South Africa. At the time South African Beaches were being ravaged with Shark Attacks. In fact, the waters were filled with many dangers. I became very interested in ways to protect humans without harming the wildlife. At the time the indiscriminate

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killing of sharks was the way with gill nets. These nets killed without discrimination and the environment paid a terrible price so humans could enjoy the waves. My studies took me next to Australia for studies in Marine & Coastal Guiding. Here more than anywhere in the world humans and marine wildlife danced daily in a dangerous balance. Now I concentrate on helping to solve international issues with dangerous marine life. Though sound wildlife management practices humans can share the waters with these magnificent creatures of the sea with little risk to both. Here in New Jersey I can see the need coming for intervention soon. As conservation increases our marine mammal populations, so will the predators increase. Lets hope New York and New Jersey will learn from the rest of the world in how to live in harmony with the sea.