Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How science is revealing Sharks' secrets

New Zealand's Great White Sharks by Alison Ballance (Potton & Burton)

Many people from my generation were scared-stiff of sharks after watching the world-famous film 'Jaws' and yet very few people die of shark attacks per year. You are more likely to be run over or be in a car accident or drown! I don't see many people being scared of 'roads' or 'cars' or the 'ocean' because of it. It just shows how powerful a film can be.

Scientists who study sharks have long felt they are misunderstood animals. Alison Ballance, a zoologist, diver, wildlife film-maker and radio presenter on RNZ National, has written New Zealand's Great White Sharks book to demystify these large creatures and solve a few puzzles.

Firstly, don't be put off the rather conservative cover; open the page and you'll see a watercolour splash on the endpapers, and then some stunning photographs of sharks underwater. Within the 84 pages you'll find out about the Great White Shark Project, the team involved, what they used to tag the sharks, and how they tag them. You'll learn about special shark features, including they have a strong sixth sense, and 20 percent of their brain is dedicated to smell! And how you can identify individual sharks (if you ever happen to be up close and personal with them), and how you can work out how old they are by their size.

Read on and you'll find out what they eat, how they're built for the kill, how they navigate, and where they live around the world. You'll also read about the Australian Great White Shark Project, Australia's shark nurseries, and mothers and babies in New Zealand.

Lastly, the book ends with the puzzles that scientists have solved and what is still unsolved. There is also a helpful glossary and index. A book for kids who love to discover secrets of the natural world and shark lovers!

Listen to Alison Ballance's interview with Kim Hill here.

ISBN: 978-0-947503-18-5
RRP $29.99 (Hardback)

No comments: