Baby lemon sharks swimming among mangroves near Alice Town, Bimini, Bahamas
© Ken Kiefer 2/Getty Image
Shark Awareness Day
For Shark Awareness Day, let’s consider things from the shark’s point of view. Sharks get a bad rap. They may be apex predators of the oceans, but we’re the ones most responsible for reducing their numbers by more than 70% in the past 50 years. Rather than perpetuate the stereotype of sharks being dangerous, let’s think of them as they are - amazing sea creatures with hundreds of millions of years of history in their genes. We may not want to meet them up close, but they deserve our respect and for the health of our oceans as whole, sharks deserve protection.
Take these baby lemon sharks, hanging out in some mangroves off the Bimini Islands of the Bahamas. They’re considered the best known of all shark populations because of research done at the Bimini Biological Field Station. But as well-studied as they are, lemon sharks tend to avoid us. There have only been 10 reports of lemon sharks biting humans, none of them life-threatening. Notice these babies are sticking together. Like many shark species, lemon sharks are close-knit. Social interaction is important to them, just as it is for humans. It helps them learn, cooperate and survive.
Sadly, humans have overfished the lemon shark, mostly for food, putting it on the list of vulnerable species. So, rather than live in fear of sharks, let’s change the narrative and give them a little space to live in peace.