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Are They Not Human Killers? Misconceptions about Sharks Explained

By Merell Lystra L. Recta

sharkYou might have seen in the movie “Jaws” how treacherous sharks can be. With razor-sharp teeth and strong fins in water, you might even cancel your swim at the beach. But sharks aren’t that dangerous at all. In fact, the chance that you’ll get struck by lightning or fall off from your bed is higher than being attacked by a shark. They play a vital role in the marine ecosystem, and diminishing them would be a threat to the world. Let us travel through deep waters, and ask why sharks are not as deadly as most think they are. And if these sharks could talk, these would be their answers in a one-on-one interview with a human:

A young boy, just out of curiosity, flipped through his notebook. He glanced at it, took a deep breath and asked, “Is it true that you, sharks, crave for human flesh?”

“We are not bloodthirsty creatures. Our normal diet consists of fish, depending on what type of shark we are. To be honest, we eat either those slow, old, or sick fishes in the waters to keep the population healthy. We may be predators, but without us, an increase in prey population could disrupt the ecological cycle. We are not saying humans aren’t delicious, but typically, humans are not our type.”

He took another deep breath. “So, what message do you want to convey to us, human beings?”

“We would like you to know that you should stop slaughtering us for our body parts.

We are not prostitutes to be sold, and we certainly don’t need cash. Millions of us are killed annually, and I don’t think that is justice. Our fins might be expensive, but life is ‘lifer.’”

Feeling a bit enlightened by the shark’s answer, he placed his notebook down and stared at the shark for a while. He then continued questioning with an even more serious tone in his voice. “We all know whale sharks are such fantastic creatures. They’re so big and we, humans, would do anything just to see one. Does providing free food just to lure one ashore a good thing to do?”

“Don’t ever try to change our diet by providing us the same food daily. Just like you, humans, we love food—free food, especially. But we are not as intelligent as you are, and sharks do not have doctors to maintain our health. Changing our diet might not have a great impact on our stomachs, but it certainly has a greater effect on our surroundings. We keep the oceans healthy, so don’t tempt us to be unhealthy eaters under the sea.”

Maintaining eye contact, he continued interrogating. “Is there something you would want to say to those people taking advantage of your good brothers, the whale sharks?”

“The biggest of our species, the whale sharks, are now on the brink of extinction. Do save our brothers by protecting them. They are the gentle giants—super—but never abuse such goodness. Who knows, one day, they might leave you and may never come out to let any human being see their beauty ever again.”

Before asking the last question, he gave the shark a timid smile. “Is there any way for us to save you from extinction?”

“Just as how you fight for your human rights, you should also implement the rights protecting us strictly. We need the laws to protect us from the abuse of vicious people.”

By reading the notes that he had written down, he came up with a summary of the whole interview.

If ever by chance you get attacked by a shark, it might just be your unlucky day. How movies portray sharks are just exaggerated. If you look at it in an environmentalist’s perspective, you’ll come to realize the importance of sharks in our ecosystem.

Sharks, after all, are our friends dressed as villains.

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