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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shark attacks in perspective

A lot of people I talk to seem to think that sharks are evil and just like to bite people for fun so they don't feel any guilt about the inhumane and wasteful way sharks are being slaughtered.

Here are some statistics that will hopefully change the way you view shark attacks.

  • There is a far greater chance of winning a national lottery than of being attacked by a shark.
  • According to figures published by the New York City Health Department, for every person around the world bitten by a shark, 25 people are actually bitten by New Yorkers.
  • A study on one Australian beach, which teems with sharks, revealed that only one out of every 30 million bathers is attacked by a shark.
  • A great many more people are injured or killed on land while driving to and from the beach than by sharks in the water.
  • More than 6 times as many people are struck by lightning every year in Florida (one of the world's shark attack hotspots) than are attacked by sharks.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic of all - and this really puts things into perspective - is that, in an average year, for every person killed by a shark, we in turn kill many millions of sharks.

From the Shark-watcher's Handbook by Mark Carwardine (a zoologist, presenter of the BBC program Nature, and author of Last Chance to See) and Ken Watterson (research scientist and Churchill Fellow, and founder of the Basking Shark Society).

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