|Tiger shark at Tiger Beach off the Bahamas|
Although the video starts of with the painful introduction referring to sharks as "one of the most hated beasts on earth," it quickly gets to the meat of the story and presents a message of conservation.
Jim Abernethy has been diving with large sharks for over 30 years and was one of the first divers to leave the safety of the cage to freely dive with sharks.
Abernethy explains that the sharks are like his pets and that they like affection which is often proven when they continue to come back to be touched and petted almost like a dog or cat. In the video from Tiger Beach, a large tiger shark named Emma arrives at the dive site and we see Abernethy having extensive interaction with the 14 foot shark.
Critics say that although his message is good, his methods are irresponsible and dangerous. In 2008, a diver on one of Abernethy's tours was mauled and killed by a shark. Although Abernethy didn't want to talk about the incident in deference to the victim's family, he notes that a series of human mistakes led to the accident. He points out that he has led thousands of successful and safe expeditions and with each dive, he has been able to advanced the cause of these much maligned creatures.
Abernety's message is clear. The concept of man eating sharks it total bunk except in movies and although there is some risks involved in diving with sharks, the much greater threat is to the sharks themselves. Human's kill an estimated 100 million sharks a year for their fins or just for the sake of killing the supposed monsters.
Photo is screenshot from the ABC News "Swimming With the Shark Whisperer" video. NOTE: Takes a few seconds to load.
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