Friday, July 23, 2010

BAD Sharks!

This is Nick. Award-winning pic by our friend Sam Cahir.

Please check out our Bull Shark Page.

The growth in the Bull Shark population has been truly stupendous.
Whereas in 2004 when we started, seeing 10 Bulls would have been absolutely spectacular, we've just recently recorded our all-time high of at least 60! Talk about having to constantly adapt our safety procedures!
There are several possible explanations for this trend, the most plausible being that over time, we've created a Churchill, Manitoba for Bulls, meaning that like in the case of those Polar Bears, an ever increasing number of essentially solitary alpha predators have chosen to aggregate in response to the regular availability of food - and who knows, maybe also because of the chance of exchanging some reef gossip, the availability of sexual partners or the spectacle of clumsy bubble blowing divers!
Or because they all love Rusi!

Does this harm the Sharks?
We believe it does not. We've now named just a couple short of 100 individuals and keep tabs on their appearance, and from what we can discern, none of them appears restricted to Shark Reef.
Instead, they turn up for a couple of days or weeks but then disappear for weeks on end, leading us to the assumption that they are just pursuing their usual Sharky agendas. This coincides with observations of ranking and spatial distribution patterns that have been reported from other Shark feeding sites.
These are huge animals and the Tuna heads we feed them are quite lean and bony and highly unlikely to provide for enough calories to sustain such an important population - the more as quite a few of the regulars never feed at all!
Go wonder!

Since deploying the boat, we've collected and posted quite a number of ID shots.
Take a look at them, and maybe when you come visit us next, you'll be able to identify a couple - or, you may even discover a new one and be given the right to name it!
Good luck!

No comments: