UPDATE 5/1: White Mike just attacked Atlanta last night within blocks of the CNN building. Take a look at the twitpic.
A striking image of a great white shark has been mysteriously popping up in cities around the country -- Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and now Atlanta. The perpetrators are remaining anonymous and there is no text on the image.
Los Angeles in particular is abuzz about the shark "sniping campaign" (a term used to describe the somewhat illegal method of posting up images on public property). Marketing executives are calling each other up asking if it's a promo for a new TV show or movie, but no one as of yet has come up with any answers, and each night more and more sharks appear.
But now through an anonymous tip I got this weekend the mystery has been solved... at least partially.
A new Twitter feed just appeared @thisiswhitemike which links back to a blog called This is Whitey. The blog is taking credit for the amazing images but declines to name who is behind the shark crusade.
The blog states that White Mike is a... "guerilla movement meant to spark the curiosity and collective humanistic action with regards to saving the dire state of Great White Sharks and their near extinction in our planet. "
Misconceptions around one of the ocean's greatest predators and a demand for shark fins in asian markets have put the species in grave danger. As of 2004, the great white population has dropped 70% from normal levels and is now on the Endangered Species List.
A great documentary called Sharkwater (whose trailer I posted up on TrendHunter last year) records the massacre of these suprisingly helpless creatures. Last year I met the filmmakers who alerted me to this issue, and though they are not in any way involved in the sniping campaign (I checked) White Mike has a link to their film.
The hope of the White Mike movement is to raise awareness of the plight of these animals, and how important they are to ocean ecosystems. The blog puts it well:
"Sharks, the creatures we fear the most, are struggling for survival in our oceans. They are in desperate need of global conservation and these words, however miniscule they may be, serve the only purpose of revealing the inhumane slaughter of sharks and the Organizations out there to help stop the cruel abuse of Whiteys."