A group of divers recently filmed astonishing footage of a great white shark, as the predator charged at their cage, sinking its teeth into the protective metal bars. Videographer Oliver Bray was diving in an area of Gansbaai, South Africa, known as shark alley when he managed to capture the awe-inspiring footage. Currently working to establish a program to monitor the region’s white shark population, the 35-year-old and his peers baited the predators to lure them near the cage.
“I was in the cage trying to find out more about how we will do the research and develop the program,” Bray noted. “The great white shark and many other shark species are under threat, so research into their breeding habits can help come up with scientific solutions to the problems surrounding their possible extinction.”
Several white sharks approached the cage, and the second one appeared to steer toward the divers out of the murky sea. Lured by the bait, the shark struck the cage hard, catching its jaws on the thick steel bars.
Cage diving has become a controversial practice in white shark habitats like South Africa. Last year, a stunning image of a great white captured from a cage went viral, sparking controversy. Many observers questioned whether the cages could harm white sharks. Though bait handlers actively attempt to keep the sharks from striking cages, accidents do happen as the animals attempt to feed. Some researchers have pointed out, however, that a greater danger lies in teaching the sharks to associate human beings with food.
Bray also expressed his belief that public perception of white sharks has been unduly shaped by negative media coverage. He believes one of the keys to white shark conservation is proper education.
“Most people have grown up thinking sharks are dangerous and scary, and we have Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to thank for that,” he asserted. “Sharks can be aggressive no doubt, but they also have a very important place in the ecosystem. Education needs to be delivered and a greater understanding of what threats great white sharks face.”
Pointing out that he has received many positive comments on the footage, Bray called it some of the best video of a great white shark that his team has yet recorded. Click here to watch the video