I Love Sharks

By Cristina Zenato

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Photo by Eddy Raphael 

 I love sharks. I have loved sharks since I can remember.

People ask me what it is that attracted me to sharks in the beginning and I am never sure of the real answer. My passion has grown through the years and the memory of the first thoughts has faded. Was it because they are the villains nobody wanted to care about and I felt they needed somebody who cared about them? Or was it because I thought they were special and beautiful, so different from so many of the other animals on this planet? Was it because they were just easy to love, as everybody else did not?

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I am not sure, I cannot answer that specific question, but I know I have wanted to be with sharks since I was eight years old. That was my dream.

Today that dream is a reality. I work with sharks, daily. Sharks are part of my dives, with students, with divers, with photo shoots. Sharks are part of my special courses. I have created a logbook to monitor their presence and behavior related to a series of different factors.

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Photo by Alex Rose

I love sharks, which is undeniable. I love their liquid form, their gentle swimming and the beautiful lines of their face; I love their colours, their eyes and their variety. I travel the world to see different sharks, to meet with people who have the same passion and work with sharks on a daily basis to learn from them and in a way to exchange notes.

Sharks, I will not spend time explaining what an extraordinary animal nature has created. I will spend my time voicing my concern over their fast decline, over the never ending greed and cruelty of the human race who is taking these animals at a rate we are unable to measure, and in the process depleting our oceans of their protection and ultimately jeopardizing our own basic survival.

We have caused extreme damage in so many areas and thus far the world has limped around it with incredible strength. What we do not realize is if we wipe out the shark populations we are on a path of no return. The incredible role sharks play in the oceans is one of cleaners, of keepers of a healthy balance. They are the ones deciding which animals are healthy to live and which ones need to be eliminated. They are a fundamental part of complex eco-systems.

The issue has reached many remote locations which used to be a safe paradise for sharks. With the depletion of other parts of the ocean, companies set eyes on prosperous shark populations and want access to them. They want to move in and wipe them out with the slash of a knife. Anger and frustration to stop these events are fuel for determination to change the course of the future. In my mind it is difficult to rationalize why people would want to do anything like this when so much depends on live sharks, but greed knows neither compassion nor understanding. Ignorance is the fuel of inconsiderate practices and wasteful actions.

I have worked for the last twenty years educating people about sharks, changing the perception one person at a time, one diver at a time, whom ever is willing to listen and learn and appreciate. I want to share their beauty, their nature, their intelligence and the privilege we all receive when we are in the water with them. At least I know it is not a lonely battle; along the way I have encountered amazing people interested in the same goal, working in many different ways to protect them. Many I call friends, others have become family.  I have watched new and old generations grow fond of sharks and become stewards of their survival, shark amabassadors, and I hope the voice of reason will one day prevail.


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Ocean Geographic Explorer (OGX) is a diving adventure resource with a special focus on marine photography and ocean conservation. Our content is divided up into six primary categories: Travel, Sea Science,  Equipment, Photography &Video, Conservation, and Lifestyle. We endeavor be a portal for people with all levels of interest in the marine environment  to learn about and become part of a community of like-minded ocean lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of and experiences in our fascinating ocean world.

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