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Sharks: Mysterious, misunderstood —
and vital to humanity


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    EditImage Alt Text:Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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    EditCaption Description:Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years, longer than the dinosaurs. There are more than 400 shark species, including the hammerhead, known for its uniquely shaped head, which enables them to see more of their surroundings and more easily find their prey.
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    EditImage Alt Text:A shark swims amongst the coral off of French Polynesia
    EditCaption Title:Apex predators
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    EditImage Alt Text:Tourists observing a whale shark in a shark sanctuary in Cendrawasih Bay in Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago.
    EditCaption Title:More valuable alive than dead
    EditCaption Description:Loved and feared, sharks boost local economies through ecotourism. Shark diving, swimming and viewing generate more than $US 300 million a year, making sharks more valuable alive than dead.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Fishermen hold up carcasses of dead sharks caught in Raja Ampat.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Observers watch whale sharks swim in an aquarium in Japan
    EditCaption Title:The benefits of sharks
    EditCaption Description:Scientific study of sharks and their DNA is driving potential treatments for viruses and cystic fibrosis. Shark anatomy — from the surface of its skin to the motion of its tail — has inspired smart design for products such as watercraft, cars and water turbines.
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    EditImage Alt Text:Large whale shark swims past diver in Cendrawasih Bay
    EditCaption Title:People need sharks
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    Shark.

    Few species have thrived on our planet for as long.
    Few have so captured the human imagination.
    Fewer still have been so misunderstood.

    ‘Shark.’

    The very word evokes their incomparably streamlined look, perfected over millennia: Through 400 million years and four mass extinctions, sharks have plied every ocean on Earth, formidable and indispensable at the apex of the marine food chain.

    That was before humans came along.

    Now, many shark species are under threat of extinction around the globe, caught unintentionally as by-catch or relentlessly slaughtered for their fins.

    Through it all, sharks remain woefully misunderstood.

    They make headlines for their fitful ferocity toward humans, yet they are crucial to humanity. Sharks support the oceanic food web that supports us, the carbon cycle that stabilizes our climate, even our economies — look no further than TV’s annual “Shark Week” as a testament to our enduring fascination with these awesome creatures.

    For years, Conservation International has worked to protect sharks and the habitats they depend on. If we lose them, the fabric of the oceans could begin to fray.

    Shark.

    Survivor.
    Apex predator.
    Guardian of ecosystems.

    Conservation International is protecting them. Will you help us?

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    EditSection subtitle:Eat sustainable seafood. Not all fish is created equal. Keep fish in the ocean by eating only seafood that’s been sustainably sourced.
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