Saturday, March 9, 2013

Video: Hand Feeding a Great White Shark

Valerie Taylor hand feeds and pets a great white in documentary Shadow of the Shark
Valerie Taylor hand feeds a great white shark
Here's a brief clip from the documentary Shadow of the Shark which aired on Australian Geographic TV in 2000. Clips from the documentary have recently been popping up on Youtube and since it was the first time I had seen it, I thought I would share it here.

In this clip, Valerie Taylor amazingly hand feeds and pets a large great white shark.  She notes that for some reason, she has an understanding with this particular shark and feels completely safe getting so close to the shark.  Additionally, she notes that with this one shark, she could  safely enter the water and swim with it.  She did caution that she does not have the same feeling when dealing with other great whites.

Valerie Taylor hand feeds great white shark
Valerie Taylor hand feeds great white shark
As for the title of the clip, "Great whites are friendly", I think common sense dictates that this level of anthropomorphism is actually dangerous.  Great whites are apex predators and should be respected at that level at all times.  Mrs. Taylor's lifetime experience in dealing with sharks is what afforded her the level of comfort in interacting with this one particular shark at this one particular time.

Description of the Shadow of the Shark documentary:  
An insight into Ron and Valerie Taylor’s intimate relationship with the sea, focusing on its most vicious predator - the shark. After developing their skills as shark handlers, Ron and Valerie wrangled sharks for Hollywood movies, including the blockbuster 'Jaws'. 

Shocked by the public's over reaction to the film, which resulted in the senseless killing of thousands of sharks, they dedicated their lives to fighting the image of the shark as a mindless killer by offering an alternative profile of the sea's most misunderstood creature. Throughout, director Tina Dalton-Hagege weaves together natural history and adventure, taking the audience on an underwater journey, with rare and previously unseen archive footage.