Sharks are some of the most beautiful and feared animals in the ocean. But we must learn that they should be protected rather than feared. Did you know that sharks keep the ocean healthy? That is why IWS is joining in the fight to protect these magnificent animals. Read below for more on Shark Week and protecting these important animals.
One World, One Ocean’s “Get Schooled on Sharks” initiative hopes to transform human perceptions of sharks from a species to be feared to a species to be admired and valued.
Here are 5 Things You Can Learn From Shark Week courtesy of The Penniless Traveler:
1. Fish are friends, not food. Jaws is mentioned roughly twice every five minutes on the Discovery Channel during Shark Week. And while the famous film has increased the number of shark fin-attics in the world, it has also led to some dangerous anti-shark behavior. In recent years more sharks have been killed for sport than ever before, by people who believe they are making the oceans safer. And shark fin soup has become a high-class delicacy around the world (especially in certain Asian countries). I enjoy Jaws as much as the next thriller-loving American but this attitude towards sharks is unfair and dangerous. Sharks are critical for oceanic ecosystems, they’re at the top of the food chain after all. Sharks are valuable for ecotourism endeavors which seek to draw in valuable tourist dollars through conservation. And sharks are incredibly useful scientifically to help us understand ourselves with their kick-butt immune systems, electrical sensitivity that could advance navigation tools, and internal elements that just may help us to cure heart disease.
2. The “rogue shark” is a myth. Despite what you might have learned from Jaws, there is not much scientific backing to support the idea that rogue sharks purposefully attack humans. In the rare cases in which the same shark attacks many humans in the same area, there is a reason for the attacks. In one case, a shark was accustomed to being fed by a diver who would pull the food out of his back pocket and drop it in front of the shark’s mouth. When this shark saw humans over the course of the next few weeks, he went for their hands and rear ends expecting food to be waiting for him. Mystery solved.
3. When a shark bites a human they usually let go pretty quickly when they realize it doesn’t have that distinctly seal-like taste they were hoping for.
4. One bite and you’re hooked. Surprisingly some of the biggest advocates for shark conservation projects are survivors of shark attacks themselves. You can read more of their incredible stories here at PEW’s Environmental Initiatives.
5. Do your research. Question the “facts.” Discovery Channel has been greatly criticized the last few days for passing off their “Megalodon” documentary as truth when in fact the film was largely fictionIt called itself a documentary as the title credits rolled and they even had recovered footage of the off-shore South African disaster the film centers around! It was remarkable, certainly. Over 70% of viewers, including myself, believed Megalodon quite possibly still existed! That’s using your power for evil. The lesson to be learned here is not to take information at face value–do your own research, find credible sources, and cross-check them in case they are no longer credible. But, despite the Megalodon mistake, I have learned a thing or two and will continue to watch Shark Week this week–making sure to double check my facts along the way.
Who else is watching this week? And what have you learned?