Australian Sharks Go Social, Tweet When Nearing the Shores

No, they won’t tell us “So long, and thanks for all the fish!” anytime soon, but instead, they’ll let surfers and swimmers know when a beach is no longer safe.

Australia – the land where basically everything is trying to kill you, has now become a safer place, at least from one point of view. Almost 40 years after the launch of Jaws, scientists figured out a way of alerting people when these ruthless predators are nearby.

Back in July, Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson, two entrepreneurs working for the University of Western Australia invented anti-shark wetsuits that render the wearer invisible to the nasty creatures. Now it looks that only Australia is confronting with shark attacks, and that only the Western side of the continent is doing anything to counter them. On the other hand, Western Australia is the most dangerous place on Earth when it comes to the frequency and seriousness of such attacks.

The title of this post could make one picture sharks using smartphones and tablets to tweet their location, but they’re not that advanced, or at least not yet. Scientists tagged 320 of them with a sort of collar that emits a signal when getting within one kilometer from the beach. Needless to say, the shark population from around Australia is much greater than that, but this is still a good start. When the signal is received, a tweet is posted on the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter account. Instead of “Shark nearby! Run (or rather swim) for your lives!” the tweet includes information regarding the distance from the shore where the shark was detected, the predator’s location and the type of shark.

The tweeting sharks are getting mixed feedback. Some people claimed ironically that they’ll make sure they have a smartphone or a tablet with them next time they swim. Others pointed out that people resting on the beach could alert the ones swimming about sharks being in the proximity. Anyway, I think that making the sharks tweet was a great idea that could be successfully applied to land predators, as well. Even though animal attacks are not that frequent, it would be better to prevent them than to mourn the victims, wouldn’t it? I suggest that bears and big cats should be the first apex predators to join Twitter.

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