The numbers of great white sharks are declining and they are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). It is now estimated that there are less than 3,500 left in our oceans. In some areas, the population seems to be declining more than in others. However, it is not that easy to accurately record how many there are because the oceans are so vast and the sharks migrate from one area to another.
So, research into great white shark conservation is more important than ever and here we get to see that in action!
Great White Shark Research
In this incredible video, which has already been seen by 1.5 million people, we see some brave researchers haul a very large, female mature great white out of the sea and onto their boat. We see the researchers capture her at the end of a line and the tension rises as night draws in and one of the researchers has to jump into the water. Two boats are involved in moving the shark onto a cradle. This is one seriously strong fish and you can see the huge physical effort it takes to get her into position.
We then see a time-lapse sequence of the researchers springing into action and getting all of their investigations completed as quickly as possible. They need to limit the time that this magnificent animal is out of the water.
Finally, a tracking device is fitted to her fin so that the team can study her patterns of movement. It’s actually quite an emotional moment when she is released safely amidst cheers from the research team.
Habitats of the Great White
So, where might this shark be heading? We know that great whites like to live in temperate and tropical coastal waters. So, they tend to be found off the coast of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa but also the North Atlantic, North Pacific as well as around Guadalupe Island and Hawaii.
Sharks also migrate. They travel to the Pacific Gyre where they feed. Because they are true carnivores and are at the top of the food chain, they are termed apex predators. Great whites will eat just about anything in the sea. Their most common prey is the seal and that includes elephant seals and harbor seals. However, they are also keen on sea lions, and even dolphins and porpoises. Smaller fish are of little interest to them but they will eat larger fish such as tuna. Given their size, speed, fierce nature and deadly teeth, it is not surprising that they do not have many predators except for humans. Having said that, killer whales (orca) have been known to kill and eat them. Hopefully, the research that we glimpse in this video will tell us more about these magnificent creatures.
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