Is it Friday already?
Then let’s TGIF!
We can’t think of a better way than with this Sharktakular Top 5 list from our friends at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal.
If you haven’t visited what we affectionately refer to as ”the OP,” get on over there right now – but please allow yourself some browsing time, because you will be lost in their comprehensive ocean science and conservation offerings that will deepen your passion for all things BLUE. The website is a collaboration with a network of more than 20 research partner organizations from around the world, and we dare say there is truly something for everyone at the OP. This post will hit the Portal next week, but they have brought it to the Shartakular first. Thanks, Ocean Portal team!
Here are their ‘Top 5 Reasons to Revere – Not Fear – Sharks:’
August 1st 2010 marks the being of an annual television ritual: The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” But this summer, as the TV frenzy begins and millions tune in for sensational docudramas like Oceans of Fear and Deadly Waters, we challenge you to take a second look at these magnificent creatures.
Why? We’ll give you five reasons to re-think the shark—even the great white, a species that has starred in our horror movies and collective nightmares for decades. It’s time to embrace the fact that there’s far more to sharks than their bite.
1. Respect Your Elders
Sharks have a long and impressive lineage. Ancient sharks, including relatives of the great white like the giant megatooth, were cruising the ocean long before dinosaurs. Meet some of the other imposing top predators from ages past.
2. King of the Food Chain
Sharks have six highly refined senses: smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and electromagnetism. These finely honed senses, along with a sleek, torpedo-shaped body, make most sharks highly skilled hunters. They often serve as top predators—keeping populations of prey species in check. Removing them in large numbers can have ripple effects that throw entire ecosystems out of balance.
3. Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself
While shark attacks do occur, they are actually extremely rare—despite the extensive media coverage they usually receive. In fact, your chances of being the victim of an unprovoked shark attack are lower than your chances of being struck by lightning, injured in a hunting accident or even attacked by a domestic dog. Even though the odds are in your favor, sharks are wild animals that must be respected when encountered.
4. Risky Behavior
It’s not just comparisons to other traumatic events that can help put the danger of shark attacks in perspective. Things we encounter in everyday life and common activities often pose much greater danger than sharks. For example, you are much more likely to be killed by a car or bicycle accident, a fall, a mishap with fireworks, or even a bad case of the flu than by a shark attack.
5. The Tables are Turned
Every year, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks. The threats we pose are many. By-catch: the accidental killing of sharks in fishing gear intended for other species. Illegal poaching and hunting: selling shark fins for soup and sportfishing for shark-jaw trophies. Nets: placed along coastlines to keep sharks away from beaches. It turns out that sharks have more reason to fear humans than the other way around. That’s why even shark attack survivors have started speaking up in defense of sharks.