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Western Australia’s Sharks Saved by Unlikely Heroes

Western Australia’s Sharks Saved by Unlikely Heroes

As opposition grows against a terrible program to kill sharks to protect people in Western Australia (WA), it seems that some unlikely heroes have outsmarted the government and learned to free the sharks. Who are those heroes? Dolphins.

Following seven fatal attacks, WA announced a plan to keep people safe by randomly reducing the numbers of large tiger sharks, bull sharks and great white sharks by setting out baited drum lines in designated zones, in addition to contracting with fishermen to monitor the lines and “humanely” destroy sharks who are found alive by shooting them and discarding their bodies offshore.

The first victim was a tiger shark who was caught and killed on January 26, which was a national holiday.

The government’s plan raised some harsh opposition from conservation organizations, politicians, local communities, surfers and environmentalists who were not only opposed to senselessly killing innocent sharks without any science to back up the plan, but were also against leaving baited hooks in the water that would indiscriminately kill predators and pose a serious threat to other marine creatures, including dolphins, turtles, fish, rays and whales.

However, this method for killing sharks has been foiled by clever dolphins who have figured out how to remove the bait from hooks without getting caught.

The footage was taken by marine researcher Richard Fitzpatrick six years ago, but was only recently released in an effort to show that not only are these hooks rendered useless within moments by dolphins, but that they are posing a serious threat to them, according to 7News. In an effort to deter dolphins from an easy meal the bait was changed to shark, but that hasn’t stopped them from going after the bait.

Fortunately, sharks aren’t falling short of human advocates either. Some have reportedly interfered by removing bait from drum lines, while thousands of people have joined protests in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over WA’s cull and have gathered even more momentum after undersized sharks were unintentionally caught.

The government continues to defend what it’s doing and hopes to reassure beachgoers of their safety, but it seems to have done nothing but horrify the public. Many continue to argue that continuing to kill sharks isn’t just a bad idea, but that it’s going to backfire when it comes to promoting tourism.

Even though an exemption was requested from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to move forward, shark advocates are now looking into legally challenging the government’s catch-and-kill policy in an effort to stop the cull.


Please sign and share the petition urging WA to protect biodiversity and stop indiscriminately killing sharks.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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3:40AM PDT on Sep 2, 2015

thanks for the article.

2:13PM PST on Jan 8, 2015

signed, thanks for sharing :)

8:45PM PST on Feb 17, 2014

OMG watching this video is stressful knowing that not all animals will be this smart. What if the dolphins just chomped down on the bait? Another dead dolphin... This is indiscriminate killing. WA should be ashamed for this type of attack on sea life.

4:14AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Stop killing sharks - leave wildlife alone!

3:44AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

Thank you

7:46PM PST on Feb 10, 2014

great job! love the dolphins!
i hope the senseless slaughter will stop!

7:35PM PST on Feb 10, 2014

Petition signed.

7:16PM PST on Feb 10, 2014

On behalf of the Australian peope I beg forgiveness for our abhorrent government.

12:42AM PST on Feb 10, 2014

Dolphins 1, Humans 0
Now if humans would just realise that overfishing waters has a direct correlation with the number of shark attacks, we would be all set. Plus, really, how many people swim in WA versus number of shark attacks? I think it is still more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by sharks. Perhaps humans are just giving in to their biological desire to kill all other predators that have the capacity to kill them. Thank goodness we still have insects to do that job on the sly....

8:26PM PST on Feb 9, 2014

Loved this story. Thanks and petition signed.

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