• Aditi Saksena

Bamboo Sharks are declared as Endangered Species.


14th July every year is celebrated as Shark Awareness week. Due to the drama, spice, and gross exaggeration in movies like Meg, Deep Blue Sea, and Jaws, the worst nightmare that people have at a beachside is getting bitten by sharks. This is exactly why conservationists and activists all around the world celebrate Shark Awareness Week to dispel myths and fear regarding them and hoping that it would lead to fewer murders and more empathy towards the species. Right now, more than ever Bamboo Sharks need your help.


Some lesser-known facts about Sharks

“We fear what we do not understand”

Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol


So let’s try and understand the world’s most misunderstood creatures. Okay, I am going to stop throwing quotes at you and factually make my case.

I know the biggest fear we have is, well, getting eaten by a shark. Did you know, sharks don’t even find humans tasty? They prefer fish over human meat and this is a proven fact. Seems like human or mammal meat isn't tasty for them. Also, did you know that every year roughly 10 people die of Shark attacks while 150 die of a coconut falling on them? Clearly, Coconuts are the bigger culprits here. Secondly because of our fear and lack of empathy and misunderstanding facts, according to IUCN, 2.4% of 440 species of sharks are now in the endangered category. And as much as the idea of sharks scares humans, it only applies to the bigger ones like The Great White or The Hammerhead, while the smaller species attract exotic fish catchers and are poached to sell as collection fishes, tell me that’s not true. Because that is exactly why Bamboo Sharks have been recently listed on the IUCN’s endangered list.


The Bamboo Sharks


Bamboo shark classification
The Bamboo Shark family

Let’s introduce you to The Bamboo Sharks. Well, the introduction includes a little bit of mambo- jumbo, once that is out of the way we can return with triumph to English.

The bamboo Sharks are a part of one of the 8 orders of the 440 species of sharks called “Hemiscylliidae” which includes two genera: Chiloscyllium which contains 7 species and Hemiscyllium* which contains 9 species. And with that, we have completed the mambo jumbo.

Coming to why they are endangered, well that would reside with the fact that they are very famous with exotic fish collectors, exotic fish diners, and the likes. Hence they are caught, sold, and transported from their native- shallow waters of the tropical indo-pacific. As adults they grow up to 121cms, have pretty stripes, and are slow-moving, hence catching them is not only easy but they also make exotic sharks for aquariums.


So what happens if we lose the Bamboo Sharks

Our ecology and food webs are very tightly knit. Losing any species, leave alone the Bamboo Sharks will have a huge impact on the ecology. Bamboo Sharks like most of the other shark species are known to be omnivores. For example, The White-stripped bamboo sharks dwell in the coral reefs of the Pacific and eat the bottom-dwelling invertebrates and small fish. Without them, these species would spin out of control, and under our current ecology crisis, that is not a minor setback but a huge blow.


What can common people do to save them?


Like most of my other articles, I don’t believe that only scientists, activists, and conservationists have the key to protect them. In fact, without the help of common people like you and me, there is nothing they can do either.

While my advice would be to use this anger and annoyance and shout from the top of your lungs, “PEOPLE STOP BEING STUPID AND LOOK AROUND YOU! WE ARE KILLING OUR PLANET.”, Line, the source of this article suggests differently, also suggestions that have fewer risks of you dying from climbing Mount Everest.

How to save sharks, even if we are not experts
What we can do to save Sharks

Learn what you can about sharks, first of all. Then talk to people about sharks and help bust

some of the many myths that surround sharks all over the world. Then research what local

conservation groups are in your area and maybe you can get involved directly, or donate money to help their work.

Another way that you can have a monumental impact is in beach cleanups - either go as an organized group or just whenever you are on the beach - pick up some trash. Trash and garbage that ends up in the ocean affects the entire food chain of the ocean and will affect sharks too. Say no to eating sharks (shark fin soup for instance) in any way at all, limit your intake of fish and seafood (know-how and where your fish and seafood is caught, and make sure it is as sustainable as possible). Finally, lobby your government to ban all trade and sale of shark fins, if it is still allowed where you live.”


If the donation is the way you want to go, we have two really promising candidates that have done a lot of amazing work for Shark Conservation and have various different projects going on where they can really use the funding: sharktrust.org and Coastal Marine Ecology and Sustainability Laboratory where they currently have the Bamboo Shark Project.


I know there is a high chance that even the idea of sharks currently scares you and you think the oceans are better off without these predatory species. But we humans have caused far more damage and are far more predatory in nature than these animals. And more than anything like I’ve always promised Khakhed is standing right behind you in this war, supporting you and backing you up as long as you take the first step. It doesn’t have to be donations, it could be debunking the myths or even being an active part of a beach clean-up campaign. But the step needs to happen before these sharks go from Endangered to Extinct.


 

About the source: Line Faber Johannesen

Marine Biologist Line Faber Johannesen
Marine Biologist Line Faber Johannesen

Line is a marine biologist and has been working with research for more than 10 years now. In the beginning, she was juggling between work and college, yet was a part of many different initiatives over the period of time. Currently, she is working in a nature center on a beach in Denmark where they do public outreach and spread awareness about local species, local and global environmental issues, and teach children about nature. Although she is not involved with any NGOs currently, she does support a few including Sharktrust.org and surfaid.org. These NGOs may not be very well known but their work in the field is highly deserving.






 

* In the image Hemiscyllium has 2 species missing due to lack of images Milne Bay Epaulette Shark and Epaulette Shark.

All images on the article belong to Khakhed. The sources for images include Sharkswater.com, Fishesofaustralia.com , and Blueplanetarchives.com


#sharkawarenessday #sharkwaters #shaktrustorganisation #sharks #bansharktrading #nosharkfin

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