If you think shark attacks were more common than usual in the United States in 2012, you’re right. But that doesn’t mean you should be scared to step foot in the ocean…or that you’re more likely to be killed by a shark than by any other animal.
A great article by Alex Yuhas describes the importance of shark conservation and how sharks should actually worry more about us.
In 2012, 80 shark attacks resulting in seven fatalities were reported worldwide, according to the International Shark Attack File. In the United States, there were 53 shark attacks—the most since 2000.
To understand this risk, however, you need to compare the numbers. While shark attacks in the U.S. ended in one fatality, dogs killed 38 Americans and lightning killed 28. In fact, according to Yuhas, bathtubs, wasps and being a bicyclist all pose a higher risk of death.
Furthermore, Yuhas reminds us of the important role that sharks play in the ocean ecosystem. As an apex predator (an animal at the top of the food chain), the disappearance of sharks could be catastrophic to many species.
With oceans and sharks already in danger from overfishing and bycatch, protecting these animals is increasingly important.
To read more of Yuhas’ defense of sharks, visit The Guardian.