You know those hunger pangs that happen after a long dive? As it turns out, great white sharks know exactly the same feeling.
Engaging with cage divers may be diverting great white sharks from natural hunting and causing them to waste energy, according to new research. Scientists from Flinders University attached acceleration loggers on a sample of great white sharks in the waters of Australia’s Neptune Islands.
The sharks increased overall movement when interacting with cage divers—a 61 percent higher measurement of overall body acceleration than when in a natural setting. Because acceleration is a proxy for metabolic rate, it’s likely that the sharks are wasting a significant amount of energy.
“Spending time interacting with cage diving operators might distract sharks from normal behaviors such as foraging on natural, energy-rich prey like pinnipeds (which is a group including seals and sea lions),” Charlie Huveneers, associate professor at Flinders University and the study's lead researcher, told The Independent.
It is unclear whether cage diving impacts the sharks’ long-term metabolism because such encounters are relatively rare and short in duration. You can read more in the study: “Interacting with wildlife tourism increases activity levels of white sharks.”
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