JAWS Gives Great White Sharks A Bad Name
By Shaka Williams
It was shocking to discover why great white sharks are endangered, but it was even
more sickening to find out that they are now more endangered than tigers. Ironically,
the JAWS franchise is to blame. The poor public image of great white sharks as mindless
man-eaters is one of the contributing factors to great white sharks being pushed to
the brink of extinction, along with sport-hunting and overfishing.
JAWS usually comes to mind whenever a shark that can grow up to 20 feet in length,
weigh 5,000 pounds and have rows of razor sharp teeth is mentioned. Until recently,
people thought that great whites were evil and deserved to die off. Now many people
understand that they are wonderful animals that are beneficial to the survival of
the marine ecosystem as well as a rare species. As top-predators, they are beneficial
to the ocean's survival and our own.
It is known that great white sharks have little to no interest in eating humans. They
find them hard to digest. In fact great whites think of humans as too stringy and
bony and wouldn t provide them with enough nutrients. A common cause for shark attacks
is that the shark mistakes a swimmer for its favorite foods, which are seals and sea
Great white sharks are far more complex than the media portrayed them to be. One amazing
fact is that they can migrate across the Pacific as well as from South Africa to Australia
and back again. They are also canny ambush hunters that are very selective of their
meals. They even have different personalities just like we do and social interactions
with each other.
There is even evidence of coexistence with great white sharks. Australians recently
developed a system that involves putting tags on great white sharks and they have
receivers on the beaches so when a great white comes into the bay the receiver instantly
makes a cell phone call and tells the guy in charge to close the beach.
Just as tigers are indicators of healthy forest ecosystems, great white sharks are
indicators of healthy marine ecosystems. So it's time to stop having the JAWS mentality
about great white sharks and start appreciating them for the majestic and awesome
predators they are.
After all, they were here before dinosaurs.