Sharks have ears, their skin feels like sandpaper, and they’re much more at risk of being killed by humans than we are by them.
These are just a few of the insights that local kids came away with after their day investigating sharks in Jervis Bay.
Project Shark is a program run by the Taronga Conservation Society to engage schools in conservation activities within their community. By learning about a specific animal and how it fits in with their environment, kids gain a better understanding of the importance of local ecosystems and the challenges faced by animals that live there. They are then encouraged to come up with creative ways they can help conservation efforts and present them at a community showcase.
Team PJ was on hand at the beach in Jervis Bay with local expert Sue from Crest Diving and an inflatable pool full of Port Jackson sharks for everyone to see and touch. The kids were super curious about the sharks and wanted to know all about our research, but the highlight was definitely getting to pat a real live shark!
This was a great opportunity for us as researchers to be able to share what we’ve learned about the PJs with the local community, and to inspire the next generation of budding marine biologists. Hopefully we’ve managed to convince them that sharks aren’t as scary as they’re made out to be (maybe they’re even cute!?), and that they are pretty important to keeping our oceans healthy for the future.