Today on Planet 100: Top 5 Endangered Sharks (Video)
Sharks have trawled the world's oceans for millions of years—the earliest species predated the dinosaurs. Today, many species rule as apex predators that dominate the top of the underwater food chain. In every ocean in the world—at astonishing depths and shallow waters alike—they hunt.5. Basking Shark
In at number five, the slow moving and generally harmless Basking Shark, gets its name from basking in shallow temperate waters to feed.
Unfortunately its docile nature has been its downfall as it fast became a staple of the fishing industry. Its fins still appear in shark fin soup and its cartilage is used in traditional Chinese medicine or as an aphrodisiac in Japan.
4. Dusky Shark
In at number four, one of the largest of its genus, Dusky Sharks have a slender, streamlined body and their eyes are equipped with protective third eyelids.
But sadly they too are being endangered by a bowl of soup. Dusky sharks are now so depleted that scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service estimate it could take from 100 to 400 years to rebuild their populations.
3. Scalloped Hammerhead
Defined by its unusual hammer-shaped head, the Scalloped Hammerhead is often seen in schools of up to one hundred. It's at number three in our Top 5 Endangered Sharks.
Like the many large coastal shark species, the scalloped hammerhead has seen population declines of over 95% in the last 30 years—mind boggling given sharks evolved some 400 million years ago. The scalloped hammerhead was added to the "globally endangered" species list in 2008.
2. Whale Shark
In at number two, Whale Sharks—which can grow up to 40 feet—are the largest living fish species, can live up 100 years, and are endangered.
Although revered around the world, whale sharks are still targeted by fishermen in areas where they seasonally aggregate. Considered vulnerable by IUCN, their hunting is banned in some countries including The Philippines, India and Taiwan.
1. Great White Shark
In at number one, although they were depicted in Jaws a ferocious man eater, in reality humans are not the preferred prey of the Great White Shark.
In fact, its humans that are endangering Great Whites through over-fishing and collisions with shipping vessels. It's now estimated that only 3500 great whites are left in the wild, making them more endangered than tigers.
That's our Top 5 Endangered Sharks. How do you feel about the decline of these magnificent creatures? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment at the Planet Green YouTube page. See you tomorrow for more Planet 100.