Sunday, May 22, 2011

Great White Shark

It is many people’s worst nightmare. Yet, for all its awesome reputation, the superbly adapted great white shark has more to fear from humans than we have to fear from it.

Great White Shark
The great white shark is the perfect hunting machine. It can detect prey from distances of over a mile. Then it homes in, using a battery of senses. These include the ability to detect electric impulses given off by the prey as well as chemical signals such as minute traces of blood. Its sight is also very keen, especially in clear water. The shark’s streamlined, torpedo-shaped body and powerful tail allow it to put on impressive bursts of speed so it can quickly approach any selected victim. It also has massive jaws and fearsome teeth that can inflict fatal injuries in a split second.
Declining Numbers
Great White Shark
While the great white shark is not primarily hunted for food, its numbers are declining worldwide. Sport fishing accounts for many deaths, but these top predators are also taken because their jaws and teeth are much sought after as curios. Nets set out along shark-threatened coastlines to protect bathers drown many of these sharks, as do nets and lines set out to catch other species.
Great White SharkGreat white shark take between ten and twelve years to mature. Since they produce very few young in each brood, this also creates further pressure on wild populations of the species. Some estimates put the total remaining number of these sharks at around 10,000. Since the 1990s there have been protection programs in place in an attempt to save this awe-inspiring fish.


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