Will the video of a great white shark getting its head into a shark diving cage in Gansbaai be the next big viral video on Youtube for South Africa? If you haven’t seen it check it out below, pretty scary stuff!
In the video, the huge great white shark totally ignores the bait and goes straight for the diving cage. He gets his head inside the cage, while the diver acts quickly to swim below the shark’s gaping mouth and to avoid any injury. The diver had only just gotten married the day before the incident. He certainly got his money’s worth of adrenalin.
The 25 second clip was uploaded onto Youtube on 21st March 2013, and 4 days later has reached over a million views. If you compare it to other big viral videos from South Africa, such as the Mountain Biker gets taken out by a buck (over 14 million views) and Battle at Kruger (over 70 million views), it still has a long way to go, but I don’t doubt that it will get there.
The common thread running through these Youtube videos is that they demonstrate what a spectacular experience tourists can have encountering wildlife in South Africa as well as showcasing the diversity of wildlife experiences on offer. More importantly, they show that wildlife is just that – wild – and should be treated with respect and caution.*
*Disclosure: I must admit I am still not entirely comfortable with shark cage diving as a tourism experience, due to the ethical issues around it. However, I do recognize that that the Gansbaai area is the best in the world for viewing great white sharks and that shark tourism is a huge attraction for tourists visiting South Africa. I also realise that the contribution of the shark tourism industry to the local economies of the towns involved is significant and that shark tourism has an important role to play in raising awareness and demystifying these majestic animals.