BBC Radio Berkshire, July 11th 2019

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Silent Hunter Speaker: Annie Guttridge BBC Radio Presenter: Sarah Walker

Earlier this year Silent Hunter founders Dr. Tristan and Annie Guttridge were invited to talk LIVE on BBC Berkshire’s radio station about sharks, and earlier this month Annie was invited to the BBC studios for a follow up chat.

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On arrival to the BBC recording studio Annie was warmly greeted before being set up for LIVE streaming at 11am. BBC Berkshire presenter Sarah Walker is a friendly, popular host, and within minutes sharks were receiving a warm welcome. Throughout the 20 minute radio segment Annie was able to discuss the importance of sharks in our oceans, and the global danger they face, in addition to having a little light hearted fun of course.

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Here’s a snippet:

Sarah: “Isn’t there a story involving you once getting into a bath and insisting that you put your goldfish in the bath so you could try to somehow swim around with it?”

Annie: “Yes that’s absolutely true! When I was younger, living in land locked UK we couldn’t really get to the ocean very often, and it wasn’t the best conditions in the ocean. So, I was pretty entrepreneurial as a child, and I emptied my goldfish bowl, the little corals, the fish, the stones into the bath, put my googles on and created my own ocean to dive in!”

Sarah: “Of all of the creatures you could have a fascination with, why do you think its sharks that you’ve latched onto?”

Annie “I’m not sure, I’ve dived with a whole host of different animals, and it has always been sharks, now, why sharks? It’s really hard to pinpoint, but I think over the years seeing the pressures that they’re under, and seeing how many of them are getting pushed to extinction, I think having a voice for those that don’t have one has been a driving factor for me.”

We see the same individuals sometimes come back year after year, and then one year they just don’t come back, and you know the chances are, they’ve been taken by a fisherman.
— Annie Guttridge
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Annie: “They’ve very intelligent animals, and my husband has done his work, his research, on social behavior of sharks, and has shown that not only are some sharks social, they have preferences for individuals, just like we do. Some sharks will actually hang out; if you have shark A and shark B, they’ll hang out closer together than with shark D, so they actually have preferences within groups. It starts to show you the depth of these animals. They have individual personalities.”

Sarah “Just based upon the sort of creatures we’re talking about here, and I know how much it annoys you that sharks, that the stereotype is that these are creatures that are going to eat us all and you can’t get anywhere near them and they’re blood thirsty, uncompromising, at the bottom of the ocean, but you must have come face to face with a shark and ended up in a fairly scary situation”

 Annie: “Without wanting to delve into this too deep, I would like to qualify this before I answer it by confirming there are over 500 species of shark, and two thirds of those 500 species don’t grow any more than a meter, so you’re already talking about a lot of small sharks. In addition to this, 53% of all species, so over half of all shark species live more than 200 meters below the surface. So, when you think of shark you think of great white, teethy, tornado shape, and that is not a representation of the majority of sharks, so I always like to give people information about of the majority of sharks out there.”

6 shark bites or attacks happen every year, 6, if we were on the menu, if we were something they wanted to consume we would be seeing thousands of deaths a day
— Annie Guttridge

Annie: “They’re very calculated. When I’m in the ocean I’m looking saying, that’s a bull shark, that’s a tiger shark, that’s a hammerhead. This is what they eat, this is how they typically behave. That sharks looking at me saying you don’t look like a food source, and if I come in hard on you am I going to get hurt? It’s a risk for them to come in on me. So even if I didn’t get out even if I was oblivious to that shark, the chances of it coming in and actually doing any damage to me is so low. In Florida everyone is surrounded by sharks all the time and they never know, they’re oblivious to it.”

They need our respect. They don’t need being brought down to this puppy dog level, some of them are big serious animals, and should be respected as such.
— Annie Guttridge
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Silent Hunter would like to take this opportunity to thank the BBC, and Sarah Walker for inviting us to talk with them, and for allowing us to speak openly, and honestly about our beloved sharks.

If you missed the LIVE piece, you can listen to it HERE, you will hear Annie from 1:09 to 1:28. Alternate link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07f3x77

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