In the many years that I have been studying the natural world, I have come to respect all wild beings and to see them in their true perspective, organisms that have each been created for a particular purpose and that, together, contribute to the well-being and continuity of the world’s natural environments, sharks no less so than any other animals. Unfortunately, however, because selachians live in a habitat that poses enormous difficulties for those who wish to study it, the behavior of these interesting fish is still not well understood. As a result, the majority of people find it hard, if not impossible, to view them with sympathy and unerstanding.
As the sharks themselves have taught me, they much prefer to mind their own business provided they are not interfered with. The majority of them behave peacefully when not engaged in hunting for their natural food. They do not like trespassers, but even when they are encroached upon, they rarely attack without first warning of their intention to do so, giving an intruder an opportunity to retreat. If we ever manage to understand the rules governing territorial etiquette within the world of sharks, it may well b possible to greatly reduce the number of attacks.
As a child, I became fond of sharks I kept as pets, the majority accepting me as fully as I accepted them. They quickly learned to recognize me and to understand that whenever I entered the water I invariably carried food with me. Never once was I bitten. Later, as an adult, my views became altered by mythology and biological training to such an extent that, for some years, I lost my appreciation of sharks, thinking of them as specimens that could be killed or otherwise used for experiments in the “cause of science.” It was not until I began to do research in Angola that I once again started to think of sharks as fellow beings.
“Shark! – Nature’s Masterpiece“ (c) 1985 R.D. Lawrence ISBN 1-881527-57-3