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July 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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California Great White Shark Population on the Rise

from the July, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In Southern California, the great white shark is making an amazing comeback. Dr. Chris Lowe, a shark biologist, says, "To think that is happening in America's front yard, that it is a nursery for these sharks in the northeast Pacific, is amazing. The fact that we are seeing this recovery is remarkable." Nearly hunted to extinction, the resurgence of their population suggests conservation is working. But we actually know very little about them. Why they bite people, for example.

He says that sharks either bite people for predation or defense. However, the chance that great whites are predators is slim, "because they don't eat people. . . A shark might feel threatened by a person and bite them as a warning, but that little bite from a big shark can do a lot of damage."

Lowe and his team have tagged more than 100 sharks from Central California down to San Diego and are constantly listening for them. They use drones to identify species and underwater cameras to track specific sharks. Lifeguards are currently using information gathered to make better decisions on how to advise swimmers.

Lowe says that the Discovery Channel has done a great job at convincing the public that great white sharks are all about attacking and this fear is hard to overcome. "We really have to do a lot more to educate the public about how to share the ocean."

(source: Quartz Video)

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