imagesEver since I was a kid, I have been terribly afraid of sharks.

Now at 23 years of age, there are still times that I cannot even bear to look at them in computer screens, magazines or go to an aquarium.

I would probably say that my fear of them is second to none.

But amidst all of the fear and stress that this animal causes me (largely in the form of anticipating emails from co-workers containing pictures of them) I have never lost my respect, appreciation, awe and majesty for these magnificent sea-dwellers.

Sharks are perhaps the most wildly misunderstood animals on the face of the earth. We’ve all seen the films, from the Jaws series to Deep Blue Sea and Open Water but the fearful depictions of these great creatures has marred their reputation ever so deeply, perhaps irreversibly.

Often labeled as “mindless killing machines”, sharks could not be described any more wrongly. According to National Geographic, their capabilities are certainly not limited to their physical nature as their ‘label’ suggests.They have large and complex brains and have often been filmed strategising for prey both alone and in schools and have also developed a sixth sense!

Being unknowledgeable about these beautiful animals could be the only reason for labeling them as many of us do.
I would probably never have the guts and certainly feel no glory in jumping into the ocean with an animal like a shark. But if I did, I would be doing this at my own will, risk and knowledge that I’m not only in the shark’s environment but every other animal that calls the sea its home.

Australia’s controversial shark cull has so far claimed the lives of over 170 of these helpless creatures. Their numbers will continue to decline on Australia’s west coast until expressions in opposition of the cull are voiced and heard.

Together we can change the fate of these animals by spreading the word to our family & friends, signing petitions (like the one below) and protesting against the contentious new legislation.

I still fear these creatures greatly but I’ve quickly realised how much more I fear for them. Even as I write this now, I shuffle through articles and pictures of sharks with my left hand blanketing my eyes. But I hope that soon enough, I can put my hand down and see a better future for these majestic and unappreciated animals.

Sign the petition: http://www.marineconservation.org.au/petitions.php/9/save-wa-sharks-stop-the-cull

– Rich

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