By Michael Graham Richard, TreeHugger
There are around 440 known species of sharks!
There are many iconic species of sharks – the Great White in the film Jaws was burned into popular culture, for better and for worse – but they are still a very small subsection of the over 400 shark species that have been discovered by humans so far. Unfortunately, being overlooked by popular culture doesn’t give these lesser-known species any protection, and many of them are endangered. It is estimated that up to 100 million sharks are killed by people every year, due to commercial and recreational fishing. Meanwhile, the “average number of fatalities worldwide per year between 2001 and 2006 from unprovoked shark attacks is 4.3.” Kind of a skewed ratio, no?
In honor of Shark Week, I want to give you an overview of endangered shark species, some of which most people have never heard about – yet their role as top sea predators is just as important as any of the more photogenic species. Obviously we can’t cover all endangered sharks in one post, as there are simply too many, but we’ll try to show how much variety there is among sharks.
Note that some species are so rare now that it’s hard to find photos of them.