Filming Meso-American Reef in Honduras
The crew, joined by Kaelen Bell, Danielle Therrien and Kallie Stuckey visited Utila and Roatan Honduras to film the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center, Roatan Marine Park and the Shark Legacy Project.
Starting off on the beautiful island of Utila, the crew met up with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center to talk about conservation and research regarding whale sharks, lionfish and coral reefs. While visiting, everyone got to see the new military drones carrying receivers employed by WSORC to pick audio signals from tags placed on whale sharks in the area. This allows researcher to see where the sharks are going and how often individuals appear around the islands of Honduras.
The crew also participated in a lionfish cull out of the reefs. Lionfish are invasive predators from the Indian and Pacific Ocean and are having adverse effects on the environment in the Caribbean because they lack natural predators and can eat dozens of reef fish a day. How the lionfish made it to these waters is a mystery, but in order to correct their appearance, scientists work to remove these fish through targeted fishing. WSORC partnered with Operation Wallacea and the University of Cambridge to research the diets of these lionfish in Honduras and the Running Wild crew got to dissect and work with these scientific organizations.
In addition, the crew met with the Shark Legacy project which was initiated to prove that sharks have more economic value through eco-tourism then they do shark fining. This was an effort to convince the government to protect the sharks rather then allow them to be hunted and removed from the Honduran reefs. Sharks are incredibly important to the ecosystem by regulating the food chain from the top down and controling fish that would otherwise damage the reef beyond repair. When swimming in these waters, it is scarier to not see sharks, then it is to see them.
Alex Goetz and Justin Grubb use the drone to get amazing shots of the reef from above. Only from a birds eye view is the geology behind the reef apparent.