Sharks have lived in our oceans for over 400 million years. Well before even the dinosaurs roamed the earth!
You can find them in almost every marine ecosystem on earth. Including freshwater!
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, and perfectly adapted to the environment in which they live! Great or small, charismatic or strange - we love them all. And work tirelessly to protect them.
Without sharks marine ecosystems face an uncertain future. As do, the many human communities and economies that depend on them.
Diverse shark populations are important for:
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!
Sharks face many threats. But by far the biggest is from overfishing. They're vulnerable because they:
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year, causing many populations to decline at an alarming rate.
Discover more about sharks by clicking on the links below:
Sharks have adapted to inhabit a wide range of niches in every ocean and sea around the world. Click here to find out more about the environments in which sharks live.
In this section we go back in time to unearth the origins of sharks. We'll explore how all sharks are related, and learn all about their anatomy and super senses.
Skates and rays are very closely related to sharks. But they're flatter in shape, which makes them well suited for life on the sea-floor.
Also known as ghost sharks. Chimaera are closely related to sharks, skates and rays. But they diverged from their shark relatives around 400 million years ago.
Shark ecotourism takes many forms. The most common are cage diving, boat trips and shark watching. Click here for some helpful tips on finding a responsible tour operator.
We need sharks to keep our ocean's healthy and teeming with life. But human activity is pushing many species to the brink. Find out more about the biggest threats sharks face.
Incidents of people being bitten by sharks are rare. Of the more than 500 known species of shark, only a very few are considered potentially dangerous to humans.
Sharks are fascinating and diverse, but there's much more to them than that. Find out more about the changing landscape of shark conservation, and why sharks are so important.
Raising awareness about sharks is key to safeguarding their future in our oceans. So, we've created a range of resources that you can use to help us spread the word.
We've created this section to inspire the next generation. With lots of information, resources and ways for Under 12's to get involved with shark conservation. Click here to enter the fascinating world of sharks!