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Klaus Jost - Bildergalerie von Wildlife, Natur- & Unterwasserphotographie de /  en Klaus Jost - pictures of wildlife-, nature- & underwater photographie

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Scientific shark articles

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Great White shark-trip

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Wildlife South Africa

ECO-PORTAL - An ecological joint project

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View our large collection of shark photos. Shark species in this photo gallery include the Great White Shark, the Tiger Shark and the Bull Shark.

In 1974 Peter Benchley’s novel “The White Shark“ came out with fatal consequences for this species of shark. The horror scenarios in the subsequent Hollywood shock film by Steven Spielberg with the title “Jaws” are firmly anchored in people’s subconscious and only difficult to get out of their heads, if at all. In an outrageous hounding the “monster“ was eliminated so dramatically that some scientists hold the view today that the white shark is already biologically extinct.Peter Benchley is now fighting for the protection of the“Great Whites“ (Carcharodon carcharias) and speaks of “exquisite creatures of the evolution“. Undoubtedly he is right about that, but whether this positive attitude spreads just as quickly and intensively and dispels the irrational fears and the horror image is debatable. In any case there is not much time left now. In spite of the ban on catching in the main distribution regions, the Greate White shark is hunted mercilessly. The large female examples are especially sought after – with disastrous consequences for an ensured continued existence of descendants. In the trophy hunting grounds off the coast of Australia the number of “Great Whites“ has declined by 95% in only 10 years. A lucrative business with death: one jaw skeleton costs 10 000 US$ and more and even a shark tooth costs up to 500 US$. But also his more harmless relatives are greatly endangered. The shark population is declining considerably through overfishing. It is estimated today that 100 million sharks are killed yearly in driftnets, in which sharks end up as by-catch. Amongst them many young and, as a result, the collapse in numbers is programmed. On account of his fins, the shark is most particularly sought after in Asia. They are cut off with a knife from the often still living animal (finning) and afterwards the bleeding and completely helpless animal is thrown back into the sea and left to his fate. Cruel and barbaric, hard to believe that humans are capable of doing such a thing! The trade with shark fins and the trophy hunting are responsible for the current situation. Everyone can contribute to the protection of the sharks: by giving up eating shark steaks, shark-fin soup, smoke rock-salmon (meat from codsharks), sea eel and preparations made from shark cartilage. Also fish and chips are frequently produced from shark meat. At regular intervals there are still sensational white shark horror films appearing, which unfortunately continue to attract an audience. In Hong Kong retail prices of 270 € (source: Shark Foundation) are being paid currently for one kilogram of fins. It is comprehensible that with such prices the fight against all those profiting from this trade is anything other than easy. Only large organisations, that support the protection of the sharks, can achieve anything against this strong lobby. They should be supported by all of us. Sharks – at present 460 species are known – have an important function in the marine ecosystem. Without them the ecological balance would collapse – with disastrous consequences for nature and mankind. Sharks have existed in the oceans already for 400 million years and we should do everything in order to preserve and protect them from extermination. Of course the Greate White shark is not exactly a cuddly toy and can become dangerous for human beings. However the hysteria is unfounded and the human-killing beast a fairytale. According to statistiks there were 74 deaths worldwide in the last 100 years – therefore more people lose their life through a wasp sting than through being attacked by a white shark. Impressive pictures of the “three dangerous shark species“ white shark, tiger shark and bull shark, as well as other shark species can be seen by clicking on the desired species of shark on the left-hand side of the screen.

Outstanding detail information and what else you can do to contribute to the protection of these “exquisite creatures of the evolution“ can be obtained from:

- Florida Museum of: Natural History http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish

- Shark Foundation

- Dr. Henry Mollet’s Elasmobranch Database http://elasmollet.org/

- Canadian Shark Research Laboratory http://www.marinebiodiversity.ca/shark/english/index.htm

"For information about current science news stories, science articles and interviews with famous scientists, visit the naked scientists". The URL is http://www.thenakedscientists.com

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