Video footage featuring a shark, which some believe to be a white shark, swimming around in the ocean near Malibu, California is making the rounds on the local news outlets in the Los Angeles area. The quality of the raw shark footage video isn’t the greatest (there is a link for it at MyFoxLA.com). It certainly appears that it could be a white shark, but I’m not sure how one could be absolutely positive of the species based on the video footage. Given the size and silhouette seen in the video, if I had to venture a guess, I’d go with white shark. However, KTLA.com quotes Julie Scardina from Sea World as saying that the shark could be a mako. If it is a great white, it isn’t exactly groundbreaking news that a white shark would be observed in the area. Despite Scardina’s statement that “typically, white sharks are found further north,” white sharks are certainly no strangers to Southern California.
The video was shot by photographer Dave Ogle near Pepperdine University, from a helicopter. At one point (which can be seen in the raw footage) another helicopter hovers so low over the shark that the water is visibly disturbed around the animal. I’m not really sure what the point of that maneuver was, although it appeared like an attempt to harass the shark.
NBC Los Angeles also ran a piece on the sighting…
All in all, I feel like the media outlets that are covering this story did a relatively decent job of not demonizing the animal. While the reports do have a few shark cliches, they manage not to get too over-the-top. Thankfully, I haven’t seen any reports on this event that automatically assume the shark was in the area looking to eat people.
Sarcasm aside for the moment, I fully support the media reporting a large shark being spotted near any recreational beach area. I understand why the shark sighting in Malibu is newsworthy, especially in light of last year’s fatal attack on David Martin further down the coast, off Solana Beach. The sarcasm is directed toward the degree of “surprise” that is presented in some of the reports on the presence of the shark, as if it is some bizarre event that a large shark would possibly be swimming within a quarter-mile of the shore of a Southern California beach. As county lifeguard Capt. Terry Harvey put it best, “It’s their home”