Indian Jaws


Dear Students

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?

Wrong!

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).

Glyphis gangeticus

Glyphis gangeticus

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. 

Carcharhinus hemiodon

Carcharhinus hemiodon

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.

Principal

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39 responses to “Indian Jaws

  1. Very very good information no words for u thanks mam and my daughter likes fish so much she told me mama pl give me this type of fish which is harmless for playing. I always read article on post but no time to give reply,so sorry

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  3. Its quite sad to read about any species going extinct just because they are believed to be highly dangerous for us humans. This article not just shows how sharks are going extinct in India but also the critical state of our mighty rivers are in. And it is a fact that The Ganga is the most polluted river in the world.
    *sigh* India has such great potential in every field but just because of someone’s greed it goes down the drain. I believe if we Indians, as a whole nation, work together we can make a difference

      • Actually it is already bearing fruits. Whenever I’m bored I give myself situations to solve (mostly related to present World problems or otherwise), in fact I once even made a plan to conquer the world ;P

      • Poor world. Every generation throws up plenty who wish to conquer it. Now you go and conquer your SA-1 syllabus first. But actually, I commend your problem-solving pastime.

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  16. It was really sad for India’s natural heritage. Peoples greed has killed and made extinct the species. Rightly said by M.K Gandhi – “there is enough for everybody’s need but not for anybody’s greed.”
    The facts were too interesting!!!

  17. True ma’am.
    I did not know that only 4 species of sharks( i thought these were highly deadly ) attack humans. Yes, we humans are only responsible for extinction of this species. Its vary sad to say that we ourselves do not have an idea that whether any sharks exist in our nation which are endemic to India.

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