Species Extinction

Cristina Zenato

  • Main problem:
    Species extinction, loss of habitats
  • Subproblem:
    Shark extinction, destruction of eco-systems
  • Consequence:
    Loss of biodiversity
  • Solution:
    Exploration - Education - Conservation

Cristina grew up in the African rain forest, where she developed a passion for the outdoors and wilderness and has always been drawn to the water from a very young age.

Over twenty-five years ago, she journeyed to the Bahamas to learn how to scuba dive and immediately made The Bahamas her home and diving her life.
Her work is between sharks and caves, her desire is to show the strong bond between each environment, creature, and action. 

She works in the wild with sharks. While she has worked with over a dozen different species in different locations, her primary work is with Caribbean Reef sharks in her home in The Bahamas. During her travels, she has met and worked with various scientists, behaviorists and handlers. Diving with sharks in The Bahamas, South Africa, Fiji, Rhode Island, California, Florida, North Carolina, China, and Mexico allowed her to gather a unique outlook on sharks, the humans and sharks relationship, and our interest in protecting both.

In 2011 together with The Bahamas National Trust and the PEW organization, she was a crucial factor in the declaration of The Bahamas as a shark sanctuary. Since then, she has not stopped advocating for shark conservation in the rest of the world and continuously keeping the sharks in The Bahamas safe. 

While not working with sharks, Cristina is continuously working on exploring and recording underwater caves to determine their location, connect to the surrounding eco-systems, and promote their conservation. Together with her team member Kewin Lorenzen they employ advanced diving technology, skills and have created a location map of over twenty systems on the island of Grand Bahama alone. Their work expands into 3D mapping, interactive cave maps, and MPA proposals; they works very closely with the Bahamas National Trust through their own nonprofit, People of the Water.

Caves are a gateway for pollution to travel from the land to the ocean, the mangroves, the coastline, and vice-versa,  affecting all the creatures in said environments. Cristina’s mission is for people to understand that to protect the individual, we need to protect the whole.

 “Water flows through every aspect of our lives. Following that flow makes us realize that everything is so vitally interconnected.”

Photo credits by: ©cristinazenato

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