Top 5 Endangered Sharks (slideshow)

By Karl Burkart, MNN via Planet Green

Shark Week tends to bring out mostly unwarranted fears about shark attacks, but actually sharks are the ones that should be scared … of humans. As a reminder, the Planet 100 show offers a list of the 5 most endangered shark species:

5. Basking shark
In at number five, the slow-moving and generally harmless basking shark gets its name from basking in shallow temperate waters to feed. Unfortunately its docile nature has been its downfall as it fast became a staple of the fishing industry. Its fins appear in shark fin soup and its cartilage is used in traditional Chinese medicine or as an aphrodisiac in Japan.

(Sign this petition to stop shark finning.)

4. Dusky shark
In at number four, one of the largest of its genus, dusky sharks have a slender, streamlined body and their eyes are equipped with protective third eyelids. But sadly, they too are being endangered by a bowl of soup. Dusky sharks are now so depleted that scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service estimate it could take from 100 to 400 years to rebuild their populations.

Image Credit: shishihenge via flickr

3. Scalloped hammerhead
Defined by its unusual hammer-shaped head, the scalloped hammerhead is often seen in schools of up to 100. Like the many large coastal shark species, the scalloped hammerhead has seen population declines of over 95 percent in the last 30 years — mind-boggling given sharks evolved some 400 million years ago. The scalloped hammerhead was added to the “globally endangered” species list in 2008.

Image Credit: petersbar via flickr

2. Whale shark

In at number two, whale sharks — which can grow up to 40 feet — are the largest living fish species, can live up 100 years, and are endangered. Although revered around the world, whale sharks are targeted by fishermen in areas where they seasonally aggregate. Considered vulnerable by IUCN, their hunting is banned in some countries including the Philippines, India and Taiwan.

Image Credit: KAZ2.0 via flickr

1. Great white shark
At number one, although they were depicted in “Jaws” as a ferocious man-eater, in reality humans are not the preferred prey of the great white shark. In fact, it’s humans that are endangering great whites through overfishing and collisions with shipping vessels. It’s now estimated that only 3,500 great whites are left in the wild, making them more endangered than tigers.

Image Credit: hermanusbackpackers via flickr

Related Links:
10 Most Threatened Animal Species

5 Things More Likely to Kill You Than a Shark
15 Cute Animals that Can Kill You

Are Endangered Whales Still in Danger?

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Emily Drew
Emily Drew3 years ago

So horribly sad! We MUST save them or all species who live in the oceans will soon follow their extinction!

Donna Burgess
Donna B.3 years ago

And aren't they ALL beautiful? I love sharks and they shouldn't be hunted. They get a bad rap. Thx for posting Megan!

Nils Lunde

Why do we always have to interfere with animals who truly are the owner of the earth....

Lucille P.
Lucille P.3 years ago

This is so horrible. They've been on our planet longer than humans and humans are now destroying it.

Valentina R.
Valentina R.3 years ago

I love sharks. I wish more people would stop hating such amazing creatures.

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon3 years ago

Sharks should never be killed. Save the sharks, save the oceans, save the planet, and you save mankind.

Andy O.
Past Member 3 years ago

Sharks always get a bad rap.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth Davies3 years ago

Educate not eliminate

Mario A.
Mario A.3 years ago

this is very sad these beautiful sharks are not going to be around some day very sad.

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby3 years ago

All sharks are magnificent beings; so sleek and powerful. From the little coral cat sharks [due to their docility they often end up in the soup pot] to the Porsche of the oceans the mako; sharks are efficient and beautiful. Unfortunately we are not only overfishing but our pollution is affecting the phyto plankton which the whale shark and certain types of whales like the Great Blue feed on. Then there is the decline of the coral reefs which like the rainforests do so much to regulate not only air and water quality but help to regulate the quality of the environment overall. Kill the forests and the reefs and you basically not only murder the planet but yourself in the process.