On the list of things you probably shouldn’t be doing with your life, we’d say riding a shark is up there. A recent stream of videos have appeared online showing people swimming with sharks “for fun” and even a few “hugging” onto them or grabbing their dorsal fins for a short little ride.
The trend apparently started with good intentions, according to Salon, “The early shark riding videos were primarily released by conservationists who were trying to drive home the message that sharks are not mindless killers that continually roam the oceans seeking out humans for their next meal.”
While that is certainly a good intention, people have taken it one step too far and it has become a dangerous game. We had similar trepidation about the “Lion Whisperer” hugging a lion video for GoPro. We need to be able to make the distinction that someone doing something extraordinary with a wild animal is not something the general public should attempt. Definitely view the moment in awe, but recognize that hugging a lion or riding a shark is not something to go out and do yourself.
It seems almost unnecessary to say that this trend is dangerous, sharks (like lions) are wild and should be treated with respect, not ridden on like an underwater taxi. It will only take one shark who reacts negatively to this stupid new trend to negate the work that conservationists are doing to promote respect for these creatures.
Image Source: Pierre Winther