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Sharks have lived in our oceans for over 400 million years. Well before even the dinosaurs roamed the earth!
They're perfectly adapted to their environment. And can be found in almost every marine ecosystem on earth. Some can even survive in freshwater!
ALL SHAPES & SIZES
The world of sharks is incredibly diverse. From tiny Pygmy Lantern Sharks that glow in the dark. To impressive filter-feeding Whale Sharks that can grow up to 17m long. Epaulette Sharks that use their fins to walk over coral reefs. And bizarre-looking Tasselled Wobbegong with their elaborate camouflage. The list goes on and on.
Worldwide there are over 500 species of shark, 600 skates and rays and 50 chimaera. All unique and amazing in their own ways! Great or small, charismatic or strange - we love them all. And work tirelessly to protect them.
WHY ARE SHARKS IMPORTANT?
Without sharks marine eco-systems face an uncertain future. As do, the many human communities and economies that depend on them.
Diverse shark populations are important for:
- HEALTHY OCEANS - Many shark species are apex predators. So, like wolves and lions on land, they play a key role in maintaining the delicate balance of the ocean. They do this by keeping other populations in check and preying on the sick and old. Preventing the spread of disease and helping improve the gene pool.
- THE ECONOMY - Ecotourism is a growing industry. Research shows that sharks are worth a lot more alive than dead. A single live reef shark could generate $73 a day - more than $200,000 in its lifetime. Fisheries too provide jobs and income for communities. But these livelihoods can only be sustained long term by fishing sustainably.
- OUR WELL-BEING - Research shows that experiencing nature improves our well-being. And sharks are an integral part of our natural world. We want future generations to be able to enjoy sharks as a vital part of healthy oceans.
SHARKS UNDER THREAT
Perfectly adapted to their environment, sharks have survived 5 mass extinctions. Yet, today, many species are under threat due to human pressure. Almost 1/4 of all shark species worldwide are now threatened with extinction. That makes them one of the most endangered groups of animals on our planet!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Safeguarding a future for sharks is key to keeping our ocean's healthy and teeming with life.
► Visit our Get Involved page to find out about all the ways you can help shark conservation.
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