When & Where | What's in the name | The future of the Raggy | What do we research
When and Where ?
Date : Winter Months - End June to November
Location : Aliwal Shoal, Umkomaas, South Africa
Objectives : Research field trips with the Ragged Tooth Sharks
We are honoured to have been asked to continue with the ragged-tooth shark project initially started by Dr Vic Peddemors, who is now living in Australia conducting ragged-tooth shark research there. This project is being done in conjunction with Dr Malcolm Smale from Bay World Aquarium, Port Elizabeth.
Where does the name Ragged-Tooth come from and what are their identifying features?
A protruding set of teeth gives the raggie its name. Raggie teeth are designed for gripping (rather than cutting) prey, which is usually swallowed whole. This definitely removes us from the menu!!!!!!!! With its short, pointed snout, small beady eyes and a mouth crammed full of needle-like teeth, the ragged-tooth shark oozes malevolence. Looks are misleading, however, and we have learn that, unmolested, raggies are gentle and quietly accommodating, despite their menacing appearance.
The future of the Ragged-Tooth Shark.
Sadly, this magnificent creature has been put on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species and is classed as Vulnerable or at high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future. Although they are currently classified as Near Threatened in South Africa, experts believe that research may yet prove them to be Vulnerable. Raggies are a protected species within the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA) and may not be harvested in any form.
What work do we currently do on our research trips?
We are gathering a photographic database on all Ragged-tooth sharks that visit our area to see if the same animals appear each year, what type of behaviour they show to us, which animal has what identifying features to set him/her apart from the others, their size, gender, tag/no tag / retrieve tag information and any other unusual occurrences / behavioural patterns that are worthy of being recorded. Research shows that the sharks are constantly arriving and leaving the Shoal, most stay for about two weeks but some individuals may spend a few months.