Great Whites Now Rarer Than Tigers

New study finds sharks much closer to extinction
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2010 9:01 AM CST
A great white shark is prepared for dissection at the Auckland Museum in Auckland, New Zealand. Illegal fishing, entanglement in nets, and boat collisions have taken a heavy toll on shark numbers.   (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Richard Robinson)
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(Newser) – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the probably is. Great White sharks are now even more endangered than tigers, according to a new study. Researchers who tagged and tracked the sharks determined that their numbers have fallen below those of the 3,500 tigers estimated to still exist in the wild, the Telegraph reports. Their number has dropped an estimated 90% in 20 years.

The study found that Great Whites are more mobile than had been believed, meaning their numbers were hugely overestimated as sightings of the same shark in different locations hundreds or thousands of miles apart were recorded as different sharks. “Some people say I don't care, they eat people," says a senior scientist at the Census of Marine Life, “but I think we have to give them a little space to live in.” The electronic tags had been used in Australia to warn surfers and swimmers of the proximity of Great Whites.

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