Most of you are afraid of sharks. You believe that all sharks are salt-water fish, living in the seas and oceans.
Some of you may have shivered through fearsome shark movies like Jaws and Megalodon and their sequels. Most shark movies will leave you too scared even to enter your own bathtub at home! So, sharks are very dangerous fish – right?
This post is about two shark species native to India that are nearly extinct, and therefore, prove the reverse – that human beings can be even more dangerous for sharks – killing off entire species!
This critically endangered Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is a freshwater shark found only in certain rivers of India: the Ganges (Bihar), Brahmaputra (Assam), Hooghly (West Bengal) and Mahanadi (Odisha).
The Gangetic shark is primarily a fish-eater, and would not attack humans swimming in the river. It grows up to 2 metres in length. Not a single Ganges shark has been identified since 2001. These sharks are becoming extinct as they are unable to adapt to the rapid and extreme changes caused by humans to their environment.
This Pondicherry shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon) is an extremely rare, possibly extinct, species of shark, which was once found in Indo-Pacific coastal waters from the Gulf of Oman to New Guinea.
The Pondicherry shark grew to a length of about one metre. It was harmless to human beings, but it was fished and eaten till it has vanished from the seas. The last Pondicherry shark was seen in 1979.
Interesting Shark Facts: Did you know that …
- Although all other fish lay eggs, sharks give birth to live babies?
- Of over 500 species of sharks in the world, only four species are known to attack humans?
- Over 80% people attacked by sharks survived the attack?
- Some shark embryos eat their unborn siblings until only one survives to be born?
- Sharks’ keen sense of smell enables them to detect a single drop of blood in an olympic-sized pool?
The Gangetic shark and Pondicherry shark were part of India’s Natural Heritage that have been put on the Red List of critically endangered species. They are probably already extinct today. Sad – isn’t it? Sharks cannot attack humans on land. But human beings can invade shark territory and cause their extinction.