Animals Ocean Creatures

Sharks – The most misunderstood creatures

“I snorkel so I can hopefully see a shark one day.”

“Why on Earth would you want to see a shark for? They are so dangerous.”

It saddens me immensely that so many people are afraid of what is the most exotic and passionate creature of the deep blue. This coming from a girl that is afraid of dogs, but that’s a different story.

Sharks are truly a very misunderstood creature, and not many people have the knowledge to understand that they are the exact opposite of what Hollywood claims them to be, and a shark hunting a human out of aggression is a common misbelief.

Ocean Ramsey, is a model, scuba diver, free diver and shark and marine conservationist. Ramsey is passionate about raising awareness to protect the creatures of the deep, as she seeks to find Great Whites through her love of diving. Ramsey’s current research measures shark behaviour and whether this is significantly affected by environmental specifics including weather and the presence of other animal species.

“While swimming with Great Whites is a thrilling and inspiring experience, my interaction with sharks is absolutely driven by my greater goal to advocate shark conservation. Many people fear sharks and have unfortunately only seen them portrayed on TV and in films as mindless man-eating machines.” Ramsey says.

Ramsey dives, swims beside, under and on top of sharks, showing how they ultimately aren’t the man eating machines people label them to be. Sharks are a key ingredient for a healthy ocean ecosystem, they keep the population of prey species in check, something that Climate Change is slowly destroying. If one creature dies off, it changes the entire food chain, which can have extreme effects on mankind and the beauty of the ocean.

Don’t be afraid of Sharks 

Why do I say this?

You are more likely to be born with more fingers and toes, to be accepted into Harvard, to live more than 100 years old and to be struck by lightning. 

There are 500 known species of sharks, and out of these, only a dozen are potentially harmful to humans. Even though these sharks have the strength to rip a human to pieces, they won’t, as humans are not their preferred meal. After a bite, they will recognise this and swim away. It is extremely unlikely to be eaten alive, and many attacks on humans are accidental.

Australia is a country that holds most of the shark population, and reports show that in 2015, only two people died from a shark attack whilst only one person died between the years of 1995-2010. Australian beaches are safe to swim in, despite what people may say. However, shark occurrences do happen, so people need to be aware when entering the ocean.

Just as humans are naturally curious, sharks possess this same quality. They are very curious animals, so if they happen to approach a swimmer, lock eyes with them and enjoy an extremely rare opportunity. Showing fear, or splashing about can increase the animals’ knowledge that you may be attacking, even though you are not. Under the ocean is extremely peaceful and unique, you are in its territory, so stay calm and soak up the beauty of the creature.

If the odds are there, unlikely 

In saying that sharks are unlikely to attack, it does happen, just as any sort of accident/tragedy can happen. Defending yourself from a shark can save your life, as they are just as fearful of you as you are of them. Aiming for the nose is not a favoured option, but poking your fingers in their eyes can encourage them to swim away. Also, playing dead is not recommended, as sharks like their pray to be an easy meal. 

And if you are petrified of swimming in shark infested waters, which is almost the entire ocean, avoid wearing shiny things, swim in groups and if you are bleeding, stay out of the water as blood attracts sharks.

Seeing a shark in its natural habitat is something that very few people are able to experience. So if this does happen, don’t swim from it, marvel at the beauty the deep ocean holds. 

Read about the one time I saw sharks in the ocean.

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