“Most shark researchers think incompletely, not wrongly,” he said.
One of the co-authors of Dr. Clua, John Linnell of the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research, examines human conflicts with predators on land and admits that he is not a “shark”. Land robbers sometimes pursue and attack people until they are killed, he said.
Recent history is full of such examples, some of which are almost mythical. Two male lions, nicknamed “The Spirit” and “The Darkness”, were accused of killing dozens of people in southwestern Kenya in 1898. These lions were chased and shot by hunters. A decade later, a Bengal tigress named “Champawat Tiger” is said to have killed 436 people in Nepal and India. A hunter killed them too.
Craig Packer, founder of the Lion Center at the University of Minnesota, said these stories were true, although they were certainly embellished by colonial writers for readers in the UK. Dr. Packer has studied man-eating lions in Tanzania and compared the phenomenon to an “outbreak” that can spread through pride or be taught by the mother to cubs.
“Every now and then one of them finds out we have a free lunch,” he said.
Biteprinting won’t be as simple as sending hunters into the field to take out a tiger with a taste for human flesh, admits Dr. Linnell a. But he said that “anything is better than the current unselective mass murder response.” If humans responded to bears the way they did to sharks, Dr. Linnell, it would be like “going into the woods and randomly shooting the first 1,000 animals you see”.
However people react when shark attacks occur, Dr. Shiffman recalled that such incidents are rare. According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, there were 64 unprovoked attacks on humans and 41 provoked attacks, meaning that a person “in some way initiates interaction with a shark” in the past year.
Five of the attacks were fatal. Falling trees kill more people each year in the United States.
While shark attacks are uncommon, so are shark culls, though a prominent surfer recently claimed one on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where bull sharks live. Instead, some countries use shark nets, similar to fences, beyond the surf on popular beaches. Dangerous sharks get tangled in the nets, but so do harmless ones, such as dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life.
Instead of these methods, many beach authorities have adopted more humane methods of preventing extinction. Drones, airships, and tags connect to apps that warn lifeguards and bathers to stay away from beaches when sharks are nearby. And after two fatal attacks in New England in recent years, Cape Cod residents received tourniquet training.