News » Shark Awareness Day 2022

Shark Awareness Day

The 14th of July is observed as Shark Awareness Day and this day is aimed at creating awareness and to eliminate misinformation about the ocean's "top predator". The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed sharks as "critically endangered" and they are listed on the Red List of Threatened Species.

"Did you know that stingrays are basically flattened sharks? While it may not seem so at first glance, rays and sharks share many characteristics, such as having their entire skeleton made of cartilage, which is why they’re grouped together on the proverbial ‘Tree of life’. Stingrays are also at a high risk of extinction, so finding the important ocean places where they live is vital for their conservation,” says Dr Chantel Elston, Postdoctoral Researcher at SAIAB.

Latest research led by Dr Elston, suggests that the Keurbooms estuary (Plettenberg Bay) is one such important place. Through a variety of survey techniques, Dr Elston and her team have discovered this as the first estuary in South Africa that seems to be a year-round safe haven to a critically endangered stingray species.

Watch our short video dedicated to #SharkAwarenessDay to learn more: