With media coverage of shark sightings and human encounters rising, now more than ever, awareness needs to be raised for the danger humans impose on the shark population. Yes — you heard me right. While we always hear about humans being mauled by an agitated shark, how often do you hear about the fact that sharks are endangered largely due to human activity?
It's not news that sharks of any size or shape have razor sharp teeth and steel bending jaw strength. But did you know you're actually 75 times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than a shark attack? However, now more than ever, you see new articles shared on Facebook of shark sightings in Cape Cod or the Carolinas, and even the occasional shark bite horror story.
Despite being warned not to try to hand feed the hungry feeding shark, this Australian woman only lost shreds of her fingers in the attack. She was quickly pulled ashore by her friends who were onlookers to the attack.
Hitting a little closer to the Ocean State, in 2012 a man was attacked by the first great white spotted in Cape Cod since 1936! He was rushed to the hospital and sustained non-life threatening injuries to both legs which would be later treated at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with just under 50 stitches. You can read more on this and many other recent shark attacks here.
But this isn't the shark's fault!
Please stop blaming the sharks! Sharks aren't looking to bite your arm off. They're probably just curious and out looking for seals to feast on! Either that or their fins were just torn up by some abandoned fishing line...or they have plastic stuck up their nose...or maybe they were just literally hit by a boat? I can't possibly see why they'd bite someone's flailing legs.
But that's none of my business...
I'm just saying, maybe if we took care of the planet a little better (especially the ocean), we wouldn't have so many problems arising. What a crazy thought, right? It's not like human-based climate change is actually having a huge negative impact on the planet... right? (Wrong.)
While commercial fishing gear and finning are the two most common threats to sharks, they can also be harmed by habitat degradation and climate change. We all are aware of the plastic epidemic in our oceans that is affecting not only sharks but nearly all marine life as a whole.
Do your part!
While you may be thinking there is nothing you can do to help the sharks, you couldn't be more wrong. To start, using your social media influence to reflect the actual issues occurring behind the scenes with sharks and not the flashy clickbait stories on a one-in-a-million attack. You can do your own research on how to help sharks where you'll find information on the small changes you can make that will alter the future for not only aquatic life, but the planet as a whole! Learning as much as you possibly can and spreading it to those around you is usually a good start when you want to make a change.
All in all, it's important to spread the word and let people know that sharks are important to life in the ocean and consequently life here on dry land. Life is all about balance and boundaries. Wildlife should remain wild and sometimes I think as humans we forget to respect nature the way we should. If we are kind to our oceans and our sharks, then our sharks will be kind to us!