Author Topic: White sharks  (Read 3543 times)

  • Young Beast
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White sharks
« on: July 28, 2003, 02:44:56 PM »
But while fear of a shark attack may haunt Australian beachgoers, for "shark whisperer" Ian Gordon taunting a massive great white shark to attack is all in a day's work.

Despite 23 years spent swimming with some of the ocean's most feared marine life in a bid to understand their behavior, Gordon admits that predicting how a shark will react is still tricky.

"For many people, the old adage is 'the only predictable thing about sharks is they're unpredictable'," Gordon told Reuters.

"I find their behavior fairly predictable compared to most people, but the reality is, I'm human and they're a shark," the rugged 46-year-old Australian shark behavoralist said.

Mental strength and a healthy dose of luck are essential when studying shark attacks, a process usually accomplished by provoking the creature to the point where it head-butts its human observer or makes a mock attack run.

This is definitely not an exercise for any amateur shark fanatic, warns Gordon, who often leaves his chain mail protective suit at home when underwater and dispenses with life insurance.

"We put ourselves, so to speak, in harm's way to dissect or analyse attacks, by getting a shark to physically attack us we can understand a little bit more about the animal," said Gordon, who sports shark "love bite" scars.

Australian beaches are frequently closed by the presence of sharks.  
A member of shark biology group the American Elasmobranch Society, Gordon swam with sharks around the world for Discovery Channel's "Shark Gordon" series and recently made headlines in Australia when he lured a great white measuring over four meters (12 feet) from a pen holding 100 nervous tuna.

Wrestling the animal may have been an option, but Gordon instead cut a hole in the net and used shark psychology to coax the beast through the gap and back into open water.

"I could have caught it, put a rope around it, tired it out. I could have done all sorts of things that would have been good camera opportunities, up close and personal with a one tonne, four meter shark which could hold three of me," said Gordon.

"But that wasn't the best thing for the shark and certainly, potentially wasn't the best thing for the people around me."

But sometimes Gordon has no choice but to go head-to-head with a great white. Venturing out of a protective cage to test drive an electric shark repellant device on a great white in the early 1990s was one task that required nerves of steel.

Positioning himself for a head-on attack, Gordon was given strict instructions to only flick the switch on the electric shield when the huge shark was no more than two meters (six feet) away.

Research groups
Other species of shark are equally as dangerous as this great white.  
"We hadn't really planned what to do if it didn't work. I would have tried to duck very fast I'd imagine," said Gordon.

"The great white shark was aware we had a 'sting' so to speak and decided to leave us alone," the father of three added.

Fascinated by sharks since a visit to an aquarium as a teenager, Gordon began working with the creatures at a Sydney marine park before going on to run shark diving tours in South Australia after graduating to fund his field research.

Now his bills are paid by professional research groups and Gordon claims to spend most of his time underwater with sharks while other experts study them from the safety of their desks.

Gordon believes the great white, seared into the minds of movie goers around the world by Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" movie, rightly deserves its reputation as potentially the most dangerous shark swimming the world's oceans.

But while the predator, which can grow up to 6.8 meters (20 feet) long, may be credited with killing more humans than any other shark, its fearsome reputation far outweighs the number of attacks.

The University of Florida's International Shark Attack File shows 60 unprovoked shark attacks were recorded in 2002, lower than the 72 in 2001 and 85 in 2000.

Only three people around the world were registered on the file as killed by sharks in 2002. Out of those, only one in Australia was caused by a great white.

Gordon says brave swimmers and divers can take a dip with a well-fed great white and live to tell the tale, particularly in spots awash with their favorite snacks such as seals.

"We're splitting hairs, you might get bitten, but it's not because the shark thinks you're a seal," said Gordon.

Despite the great white's chilling reputation, lesser-known sharks such as the aggressive tiger or the stout and fairly common bull shark that lives in Australia's rivers and tropical waters can pose an equally serious threat to humans.

But anyone scared to go into the water can still take comfort from the fact bee stings cause more fatalities every year than the great predators of the deep

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White sharks
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2004, 06:43:25 PM »
I think what he doing is wonderfull and I can't wait to meet him one day in my travells for the marine biollagy that I plan to major in. So Keep on Keeping on![/b]

  • Monstrous Imp
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White sharks
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2005, 12:38:10 AM »
Have any of you swum (in cages) with Great Whites?

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White sharks
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2005, 03:00:49 PM »
they could easily bite through it if they wanted too, me and my dad were discussing it earlier

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White sharks
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2005, 05:38:13 PM »
they are big!! and not scary as long as your on the boat
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