Guest Post from Sharkpedia Author Nancy Ellwood

Hammerhead shark near Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.  © CI/Photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
There’s good news and there’s bad news . . . that’s the way it tends to go for our beautiful shark friends. The good news? Lots of new studies are being done around the world, and the results are getting reported internationally – and quickly – about the plight of sharks. These studies, like the most recent one by the IUCN (reported today), are raising awareness more and more to the dangers that all sharks face in this world of overfishing, climate change, and ailing oceans.

The bad news? Well, the bad news is that sharks aren’t faring all that well. The IUCN’s new report says that more than 30 percent of the 64 species of pelagic sharks are threatened with extinction due to overfishing and finning. More than one-third! And while awareness and global workshops and summits are important, action is key. And action – real action, that rallies hundreds of thousands of people, and makes a difference – hasn’t been easy to drum up. Why is that?

Perhaps it’s because pelagic sharks aren’t warm and fuzzy-looking, like polar bears. Nor are they small and cute, like Amazonian frogs. Instead they’re sleek and mysterious, outfitted with tough skin, sharp teeth, and a penchant for lurking just out of sight. The world is still more comfortable vilifying these intelligent, majestic animals, than embracing their importance in the animal kingdom, which is truly a shame. If we humans want to continue to call ourselves top dog on the planet, then we need to respect and learn from these predators who’ve managed to survive – and thrive – for millennia.

LEARN MORE: Science with Teeth: Understanding the balance of the seas

Sharkpedia, Nancy Ellwood-EditorNancy Ellwood

Editor of Sharkpedia
DK Publishing

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