Visiting CCHS for the second time, shark conservationist Dan Abbott delivered a talk to over 40 Lower 6th and upper 6th Biologists about behavioural patterns he had observed in sharks as part of his internship with White Shark Africa.
Offering a rare insight into the behaviour of such misunderstood and powerful animals, Dan shared his own photos and videos of a number of Great Whites in Mossel Bay, including several that showed the sharks ‘mouthing’ the cage with people inside. Dan explained that despite common misconceptions, the sharks are not actually trying to rip the cage apart – if they wanted to, they easily could – but they are actually just curiously investigating the strange object in the only way they know how; with their mouths.
Leading on from this, Dan talked about the negative influence that media can have upon sharks when it constantly labels them as vicious killers. A widespread fear of sharks is what is making it increasingly hard to protect endangered shark species – the merciless slaughter of sharks to make shark fin soup is still supported by several restaurants in our own country.
To help with this issue, Dan is part of a Bite-Back charity which runs many campaigns to protect sharks, including one that aims to stop shark finning in the UK. He provided a petition sheet for us all to sign if we wished, as well as more information on how and where to help fight for the safety of sharks all over the world.