Interview with the Head of the SEA LIFE Trust
Andy Bool on his role within the charity
The SEA LIFE Trust is Merlin’s marine conservation charity partner, with a vision to help create a world where our seas are healthy, protected and full of diverse life. We spoke to the Andy Bool, the Head of the SEA LIFE Trust, to find out more about his role with the charity and the campaigns he has helped to create.
What does your role at SEA LIFE Trust encompass and involve day-to-day?
I’ve been with the SEA LIFE Trust for 4 years and I am responsible for the global operations. The Trust is dedicated to making a positive difference to marine life and habitat across the world. We operate our own marine life sanctuaries, run campaigns and support global projects. As you might expect, what this involves day-to-day varies greatly, from recruiting expert staff for our sanctuaries to raising awareness of the Trust across the business - but suffice to say it is varied and never dull!
How did you start your career in the charity sector?
My desire to work in the charity sector was fuelled by volunteering for Australian NGO the Wilderness Society when I was travelling many years ago. This experience encouraged me to focus on developing the skills and experience I needed to contribute professionally to a charity and I have now worked in the sector for the last 18 years, with my current role being my dream job!
What are the biggest challenges facing conservation charities like SEA LIFE Trust?
The biggest challenge facing marine conservation charities is the ability to engage with a big enough audience to make a difference. Our partnership with the SEA LIFE attractions gives the Trust a unique opportunity to reach an audience of millions of members of the public across the world, who can see the amazing array of life that inhabit our oceans when they visit. We have seen what our campaigns can achieve by engaging even a small percentage of this huge audience to take action.
What campaign have you been most proud of?
Can I cheat and say everything?! In our relatively short life, we have seen new marine protected areas created and outdated laws that help prop up commercial whaling challenged. We have taken on ownership of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, a facility that makes an unrivalled positive difference to seal pups in need of rescue and treatment. Most recently, we have taken on an exciting world-first in the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary. None of what we have achieved could have happened without the fantastic and generous support we receive from SEA LIFE and Merlin teams across the world.
How have you been involved in the Beluga Sanctuary project?
The Trust took on the Beluga Whale Sanctuary in November last year and since then I have been involved in all aspects of the project! At the moment, our focus is on completing the build element on time and to budget, preparing Belugas Little White and Little Grey for their epic journey early next year, recruiting the expert team to care for them and run the Sanctuary and lastly, seeking funding to secure the future of the Sanctuary once it is operating.
Why is the Beluga Sanctuary project so significant?
Not only will the Sanctuary make a huge difference to the lives of Little White and Little Grey, its first residents, but it offers a beacon of hope for more than 300 other beluga whales currently living in aquariums across the world.