Ocean News

SOSF scientist Alison Kock promotes great white sharks on CNN

1st August 2008

View the clip on CNN here.

On the sea before first light and spotting great white sharks by dawn, Alison Kock, is dedicating her life to studying the mysteries behind the great white shark. Earlier this week CNN’s Anderson Cooper joined Alison for the day to film her at work and to learn what scientists know and don’t know about these vulnerable creatures. The footage, broadcast later that night on CNN, is part of a two hour special called Planet in Peril: Battle Lines, which is due to air in December this year. The program will show how humans are using their natural resources: the problems, conflicts and successes.

Through her research with the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) Alison has tagged more than 70 great white sharks and identified more than 300 since 2004, providing the only source of scientific information on white shark activity and behaviour patterns in Cape Town. She aims to change both the media and the general public’s perceptions about great white sharks and gather more data, which will be used in the conservation management of this unique species.

Cooper was treated to a full day of predator-prey interactions, where they witnessed a total of 23 attempted and successful attacks by great whites on Cape fur seals off Seal Island in False Bay. They had nine different great whites approach the boat and Alison successfully tagged a 3.20 m female with an acoustic pinger, whose movements in these waters will now be tracked. The CNN reporter highlighted the need for continued research and emphasized that a better understanding of these apex predator’s movements and behaviour is essential for their protection.

Learn more about Alison’s white shark research project here.