Another obstacle facing the conservation of sharks is the age-old image problem—sharks simply don't get enough good press. Many believe that "the only good shark is a dead shark" thanks to our media-fueled misperceptions. Indeed, sharks have evolved in our minds into terrifying monsters that ironically, while often times creating a mass hysteria, really only exist within our collective nightmares and pop culture.
Say the word "shark" and most people immediately imagine a bloodthirsty monster worthy of a JAWS remake. As a society, there are few things we fear more than sharks, with shark attacks consistently ranking in studies as one of the top 3 most-feared natural dangers. Dip a toe in the ocean, and you will surely be torn limb from limb. This makes it difficult for many people to understand why sharks are worth saving – let alone why they should take measures to do so. And thus, countless animals continue to disappear without us noticing or caring.
Truth is, the man-eating monster is a myth that Hollywood and the media have created and perpetuated in order to increase ratings and sell newspapers. Reports far outpace actual attacks – and the severity of incidents is often exaggerated. Contrary to all of the rubbish we have been taught, humans are simply not on the sharks' menu. In fact, you are more likely to be killed in a hunting accident, sand pit, or by lightening strike than by a shark.
In 2008, only 4 people out of the 6.5 billion people worldwide died as the result of a shark bite. During that same year, 793 people died due to bicycle accidents and 49 died due to dog bites. Of the over 500 species of sharks, only a handful of species have been linked to any incidents with humans – that is less than 5% of all shark species. Indeed, the vast majority of sharks are completely harmless to humans.
Sharks are magnificent creatures that are, on the whole, more scared of us than we could ever be of them. And rightfully so, as they are truly our prey. If only we humans could let our fears go and realize sharks are misunderstood creatures that desperately need our help. We believe this is possible.
Still don't believe the truth about sharks? Watch the videos and see for yourself!