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WILDLIFE

Jaws on film


Join a team of scientists and help spot sharks from the safety and comfort of your own home

by Webmaster, 4th January 2023

Join a team of scientists and help spot sharks from the safety and comfort of your own home

We’re lucky here in Wales to have 25 different shark species in our waters, from one of the largest, the basking shark, to the rarest, the Angel shark (pictured above). But unless you have your own boat and diving equipment, the prospect of seeing one is virtually impossible. Until now. 

Volunteers are being recruited to identify sharks, skates and rays captured on underwater cameras around the Welsh coast, as data from more than 90 hours of footage needs to be logged to help build a picture of the diversity of species.

Sharks Inspiring Action and Research with Communities (SIARC ) is a collaboration between Natural Resources Wales and the Zoological Society of London as well as communities in Gwynedd. Throughout the summer of 2022, protected and critically endangered species were filmed by remote underwater cameras in a special conservation area off the Llyn Peninsula.

Previously just for researchers' eyes only, the footage is now available to everyone via the Instant Wild website. These "citizen scientists" are asked to log the types of sharks, skates and rays they see, helping to save researchers lots of time and effort.

"We'll have a scientist reviewing all the footage, but the citizen scientists will be the validator,” says Joanna Barker from the Zoological Society of London. "We'll be able to compare both the scientist and citizen scientist scores and data and it'll just really improve the scientific data that we get out of this project."

Volunteer Matt Thomson said he was already hooked and hoped to see a ‘really rare’ angel shark during his work on the project. Mr Thomson has been logging exotic wildlife using the Instant Wild app for 10 years.

"I'd really like to see an angel shark as they're very rare,” he said. "I'll be very surprised if we do actually see any and I'd be really excited to see a basking shark.

"But there's plenty of other things to keep you interested. Any shark, skate or ray that you see on these cameras is going to be really interesting."

Start spotting Welsh sharks now by visiting; instantwild

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