Great White Shark

NAME

TITLE
Love The Great White Shark

GENDER
Female

AGE
47

FOUND
All major oceans

CONSERVATION STATUS
Vulnerable

This female is 47-years-old and has been cruising the oceans, munching on her favourite seafood snacks for some time. She has a very important role to play being at the top of the food chain, she must make sure that no populations get too big or they will all fall out of balance. But she has noticed that humans, which she has heard taste awful, are very scared of her. They see her as a vicious killing machine, which really isn’t the case! If she sees a boat coming near she knows what she must do, swim away as fast as she can.

When people think of a great white shark, many will instantly switch to the image of the man-eating fish made famous in the movie Jaws. But these great predators are highly misunderstood. It is true that they are massive, growing to 4.6m long with some being measured at 6m. It’s true they have lots of sharp teeth, 300 in fact which are found in up to 7 different rows inside the shark’s mouth. And it’s true that they have an amazing sense of smell for blood, being able to small a colony of seals 2 miles away. But they aren’t man-eaters. They prefer to munch on things actually found in the ocean such as fish, seals, and even small whales. There are about 5-10 attacks on a human every year and it’s thought that they were never attacking, just taking a taste test then swimming away uninterested. Not so scary!

Now that we know that they aren’t interested in humans for breakfast, we can start to appreciate how amazing these animals are. They are so powerful that they can propel themselves through the water at speeds up to 60km per hour. They are incredibly sneaky and effective with ambushing prey. They will glide below their victims before quickly swimming up and grab them. They will often be propelled out of the water afterwards, called a breach, before falling back down with their breakfast in their jaws. They are at the top of the food chain with no natural predators.

Great white shark mothers are not winning any awards for mother of the year. She will give birth to 2-10 pups but has no interest in caring for them. They are all on their own and have to do their best to avoid being eaten by mum, swimming off as soon as they are born. Great whites can live a very long time, over 70 in some cases. But they also reach sexual maturity very late, 26 for males and 33 for females.

Even though they are at the top of the food chain, great whites are listed as vulnerable. And it's entirely because of humans. Over the years they have been hunted by humans for their fins and teeth, and also seen as a trophy for sport. They are also caught up as bycatch by commercial fisheries and can get entangled in the mesh used to protect beaches. Not much is known about the great white shark's biology and behaviour so it is important for their conservation that we learn as much as we can.

HOW TO HELP 
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals. 

With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals. 

​The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.

To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.wwf.sg/

PARTNER

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As one of WWF’s international hubs, WWF-Singapore supports a global network spanning over 100 countries. We work to meet key conservation goals, such as deforestation, haze pollution, food security, sustainable finance, sustainable consumption and illegal wildlife trade.

For more information, visit https://www.wwf.sg

SOURCES