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CoastLine: Shark Sense with George Burgess & Chuck Bangley

By Brian Gratwicke, via Wikimedia Commons
Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

The North Carolina coast has seen eight shark attacks so far this season.  Summer is not half over.  It’s a record-setting number.  And a chilling one for most people.  There’s no getting around the primal fear that sharks seem to trigger in humans.  Time Magazine recently confirmed this in a study by showing viewers scientific information about sharks and explaining that up to 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year.  Fewer than five people are killed by sharks annually.  Based on these statistics, according to Time, you’re far more likely to die from a bee sting or the flu than to be killed by a shark.  The study showed that information had no impact on viewers’ emotional reactions to scary video of sharks.    

On this edition of CoastLine, we explore the questions that continue to swirl around this topic – particularly after four of the eight attacks this year in North Carolina ended in very serious injuries – with two young people losing parts of their arms. 

Joining us to sort out the hysteria from the facts are two shark experts:

With us by phone is one of the most-interviewed shark experts in the country lately.  George Burgess is the Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research and the International Shark Attack File, both of which are based in the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.

Chuck Bangley is a Ph.D Candidate in Coastal Resources Management at East Carolina University.  He’s working on a shark habitat selection study with some funding from North Carolina Sea Grant.

Listen to Segment 1 here.

Listen to Segment 2 here.

Listen to Segment 3 here.

For more on shark safety, follow this link:  http://ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/sharks/

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.