What It's Like To Repeatedly Risk Your Life To Save A Shark
A diver who risks hands - and perhaps more - to save sharks is taking dedication to helping animals to another level. Diving off the coast of Florida, Randy Jordan and his crew take shark rescues into their own hands - quite literally.
Jordan, who is captain and owner of Emerald Charters in Jupiter, told The Dodo that it's not uncommon to see sharks with hooks in their mouths (in the video below, Jordan is the diver who moves the shark so the other diver can remove the hook).
"I've been around sharks for quite some time, and I noticed that so many of them have hooks that are interfering with their ability to eat," he said. "That kind of bothered me. About 70 percent of the sharks I see have hooks in them."
After consulting with scientists, Jordan realized that he could easily and safely put a shark into a state of "tonic immobility," a state of hypnosis induced by a serotonin release in the animal's brain. Then, another diver can remove the hook - in this case it was fellow diver Cameron Nimmo.
Jordan said that he's performed the rescue act on several sharks now. See Jordan in action in this video:
Despite their reputation, sharks clearly have more reason to fear humans than we have to fear them. According to the organization Shark Savers, an estimated 50 million sharks are caught unintentionally (commonly referred to as "bycatch") every year. Sharks see bait intended for other fish, and become the catch accidentally. Even when these animals are released, a hook in the mouth can lead to serious infections and even death.
It might seem a scary feat - but Jordan said that sharks' bad wrap isn't accurate.
"The first time I ever saw a shark it scared me so bad that i hyperventilated," he said. "But now, part of what we do is try to educate people to realize that they're [sharks] really not like that."