Environment Planet Earth Trump’s Death Wish for Sharks Leads to Deluge of Donations for Shark Charities By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Luiz Felipe V. Puntel Share Twitter Pinterest Email Planet Earth Conservation Weather Outdoors After the revelation that the "terrified" president reportedly hopes “all the sharks die,” donations started pouring in for shark conservation non-profits. To be fair, President Donald Trump isn’t the only person on the planet afraid of sharks – a fact that has made raising money for shark conservation groups a tough job. But that job just got a little easier, thanks, curiously enough, to the ol’ “President and the Porn Star” scandal. According to the In Touch Weekly interview with adult actress Stormy Daniels, Trump was “obsessed” with sharks and “terrified” of them. He reportedly told her, “I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die.” Aw, poor sharks! But since Trump’s shark aversion became public, donations have been spiking at the nonprofits Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, reports MarketWatch. “We have been receiving donations in Trump’s name since the story was published,” Cynthia Wilgren, chief executive officer and co-founder of Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told MarketWatch. “It can certainly be a challenge to raise money for a species that most people fear,” she added, noting that many of the donations came from first-time donors. Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has also received “quite a few” donations from people who specifically mentioned the president’s remarks, says the group’s founder, Captain Paul Watson. Sea Shepherd works on behalf of sea animals, including sharks. According to Sea Shepherd, more than 100 million sharks are killed annually, many for their fins to make shark fin soup; and it isn’t pretty. Once their fins are removed, the live animals are thrown back in the ocean, where they sink to the bottom and die slowly or get eaten by other predators. The Sea Shepherd site notes, "Over 8,000 tons of shark fins are processed each year. The fins only amount to 4% of a shark's bodyweight. This means that some 200,000 tons of shark are thrown back into the sea and discarded." Like most creatures on this planet, sharks have their place. As an essential part of the marine ecosystem, they keep food webs in balance, keep prey populations healthy, and keep sea grass beds and other vital habitats healthy, for starters. Not to mention that sharks just get a bad rap, and why? There have been an average of six deaths per year over the past decade, a remarkably low number given the billions of human-hours spent in the water annually Meanwhile, the golf course actually brings more to genuinely fear in the form of lightning strikes and other random ways to die. “It’s actually more dangerous to play golf than it is to go swimming in the ocean with sharks," says Watson.