13 February 2019

South Africa: As Great Whites Disappeared Off the Western Cape Coast, Sevengill Sharks, 'Living Fossils', Moved in

analysis

With the disappearance of great white sharks in the waters surrounding Seal Island off Cape Town in 2017, a shark operator began noticing sevengill sharks for the first time. Since then their numbers have increased. Researchers believe sevengills have extended their range to Seal Island because great whites are no longer feeding on them.

In the waters surrounding Seal Island off the Western Cape Coast, there is a new sheriff in town. This sheriff has taken advantage of the disappearance of an iconic predator -- the great white shark - and this has researchers and tour operators worried.

The sevengill shark is famed for its close resemblance to the earliest sharks that appeared way before the dinosaurs. What it is not famed for is the flashy aerial displays of its predecessor, nor does it have the killer reputation that spawned a genre of movies from Jaws to Sharknado.

In fact, tour operators find that the sevengill just doesn't have the appeal of its famous cousin, which was responsible for building R1-billion-a-year tourism industry.

Even the seals of Seal Island are having a chill time of late.

Once, this colony was so harried by great whites that scientists discovered that the...

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