A renowned diver who is known as a skilled 'shark whisperer' has been filmed putting her hand inside a shark's mouth to remove a fishing hook lodged in its gullet.
Italian-born Cristina Zenato fearlessly reached into the predator's mouth and pulled the hook out, even as other sharks swarm all around her in waters off the Bahamas,
The shark appeared totally at ease with her, and even as she reaches deep into its throat it doesn't attempt to bite.
According to the YouTube description, Cristina Zenato is world renowned for her work with sharks, and uses a trick to put them in a trance before handling them. But she still wears body armour in case one decides to attack.
The Caribbean reef shark is found in the tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil, and is the most commonly encountered reef shark in the Caribbean Sea.
Normally shy or indifferent to the presence of divers, the Caribbean reef shark has been known to become aggressive in the presence of food and, growing up to 10ft, is sufficiently large to be considered potentially dangerous.
The International Shark Attack File lists 27 attacks attributable to this species, four of them unprovoked, and none fatal.
A profitable eco-tourism industry has arisen around the species involving organised "shark feeds", in which groups of reef sharks are attracted to divers using bait. Around US$6,000,000 is spent annually on shark viewing in the Bahamas, where at some sites a single living Caribbean reef shark has a value between US$13,000 and US$40,000 (compared to a one-time value of US$50–60 for a dead shark).
This practice has drawn controversy, as opponents argue that the sharks may learn to associate humans with food, increasing the chances of a shark attack, and that the removal of reef fishes for bait may damage the local ecosystem.
Conversely, proponents maintain that shark feeds contribute to conservation by increasing the protection of sharks and educating people about them.
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