The Galapagos Shark

The Galapagos shark is not your ordinary shark. They are one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. They are so picky that if you put the most shark-appetizing chicken carcass in the water with them, they will not touch it. And if you stuff it with fish, they will tear off the chicken meat and only eat the fish, pretty strange for a “man-eater” right? Most Galapagos sharks won’t even prey on land animals, because they know what they want to eat; and that is sea-creatures such as Marine Iguanas, Sea Lions and the all-famous fish. They are also known to be cannibals in some cases. But that does not mean that these fish don’t ever come out of the depths of the ocean. Galapagos sharks are amazingly curious. They are known to have visited boats and divers in the water to investigate, not to prey mindlessly on.

Galapagos sharks are found all over the world in places such as Hawaii, Madagascar, Central America, Peru, New Zealand, Australia, and of course the root of their name, The Galapagos Islands. They are commonly mistaken for Tiger sharks, who are highly deadly, because of their large size. Galapagos sharks can reach lengths up to 3.7 meters and weigh up to 86 kilograms. They can also suntan. Galapagos sharks that typically swim near the surface will actually get almost black, and then ones who swim in deeper waters are more of a grey color. These sharks tend to live in tropical, clear water with plenty of coral and rocky bottoms. In fact, majority of their habitats are islands far away from major continents.

Yet they do face sever danger down the road. Although they are labeled only a near-threatened species, they could potentially be labeled as vulnerable from over fishing and the taste-less Asian dish, shark fin soup. But relief efforts are being made to save them. Several countries in the western hemisphere, including The Galapagos Islands, have stopped supplying shark fins to countries in Asia to help all shark species because they all know what will happen if sharks become endangered or extinct. The oceans will become dirtier with fish carcasses with no predator to get rid of them, overpopulation of fish, and many more horrible scenarios. During the 1970’s and 80’s the film Jaws sparked a flame of a new hobby for men living on the coasts, shark hunting. Millions of sharks all over the world were innocently killed for recreation and even the author of the novel said that his story was only fiction, and that it is extremely impossible for such a shark to exist. Not only did shark hunting begin, the Jaws “fever” also spread the opposite way; majority of modern-day shark knowledge was discovered by people who were inspired by the dynamic, marine biologist in Jaws. Luckily, most recreational shark hunting has ceased, and sharks have become very interesting to a lot of people, including me.

About ten months ago, I traveled to Hawaii on vacation. I received the tremendous opportunity to actually get a face-to-snout encounter with some Galapagos sharks. I went in a cage about three miles off of the coast in the Pacific Ocean to witness these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Of course their famous curiosity played a role, and I was almost welcomed by them. I thought I’d be terrified, but instead was fascinated by their behaviors. Over a dozen were circling the cage and I never felt threatened once. The Galapagos shark is one of nature’s many creations, they, as all sharks, should be kept alive and flourishing on planet Earth. Without them, Earth cannot be as magnificent as she is now.

This entry was written by Jordan D. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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