10 Reasons To Care About Sharks

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Posted August 14, 2014 by Kim Johnson

1. There are more than 300 different shark species.


2. Hammerhead sharks have excellent binocular vision and can see above, below, and behind them as well as in front.

hammerheadHammer from Cocos Island, Costa Rica | Barry Peters | CC by 2.0

3. Sharks are among the oldest species on Earth. The first sharks lived more than 300 million years ago, and they were very similar to the modern sharks we see today.

4. Some sharks have big families. A whale shark was once seen caring for 300 pups!

5. All these animals are more likely to kill you than a shark: bees, wasps, hornets, and dogs.

nurse sharks

6. Sharks kill approximately five to 15 humans a year, while humans kill 73 million sharks every year for their teeth, jaws, and fins—simply for fascination or a fleeting taste of flesh.

Sharks Killed Humans Killed sp2©

7. Our fascination not only causes the unnecessary deaths of millions of sharks but also results in the imprisonment of them at aquariums like SeaWorld. In the wild, sharks can swim up to 40 miles a day, but in aquariums, sharks are confined to small tanks where they can only swim back and forth.

8. The average shark in the wild lives to be about 25 years old, but in captivity, some sharks live only a few days as a result of stress. You might remember hearing about the shark who died after only a day of filming for a K-Mart commercial.

A Whitetip Shark, like the one K-Mart confined to a swimming pool for a commercial. Whitetip Reef Shark | Elias Levy | CC by 2.0

A whitetip shark like the one K-Mart confined to a swimming pool for a commercial

9. Sharks are also often killed for their fins. Every day, fishers catch these sensitive animals, cut off their fins, and throw the sharks back into the ocean, where they bleed to death or die from suffocation when they are unable to swim and push water through their gills. This happens to millions of sharks each year so that humans can eat their fins in a bowl of soup.

10. In the United States, shark-finning is illegal, but selling shark fins obtained internationally isn’t. A bowl of shark-fin soup normally sells for about $70 to $150.

 How You Can Help Sharks

Avoid aquariums, and tell your friends and family to stay away, too. You can also help sharks by going vegan and leaving fish off your plate for good. Sharks are often considered “bycatch” when they are inadvertently caught in commercial fishers’ nets. Sharks (along with turtles, dolphins, and seals) can suffer for days in the nets before being pulled from the water, where they slowly suffocate or die from the painful decompression of suddenly surfacing from deep water. With all the great fish and meat alternatives available today, it’s easier than ever to go vegan.

go vegan pledge

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