MANILA – Endangered, rarely seen “ninja” sharks have been seen by scientists off Malapascua Island in Cebu, according to Rutgers University.
Marine scientists Thomas Grothues, an associate research professor from Rutgers University in the United States and Simon Oliver from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom, documented sightings of endangered pelagic thresher sharks, a species commonly found in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
In their month-long observation, Grothues and Oliver spent most of their time aboard a motor yacht off Malapascua Island, where residents have built a tourist trade around thresher sharks.
Thresher sharks would usually come to a local reef near the island to have parasites cleaned off their bodies by tiny fish called wrasse.
According to the Rutgers University feature, the athletic thresher sharks would prey on small fish like sardines and mackerels by whipping their tails in a speed of 50 miles per hour. They pose little threat to humans, unless they get hit by their enormous tails.
Grothues said a lot is yet to be learned about the pelagic thresher sharks.
“Their presence adds to this world,” said Grothues. “But without further knowledge of their distribution, numbers and feeding habits, it is hard to predict how, when and how much they impact human economies and the environment.”
According to Grothues, overfishing is becoming to be a big threat for the thresher sharks. Some fishermen hunt them for their fins, liver oil, tails, and flesh.
Source: ABS-CBN News PH