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Shark Attacks Still Rare Even Though You Hear About Them More Often

Image: Shark Attacks Still Rare Even Though You Hear About Them More Often
Sharks circle through the waters near Perdido Pass in Orange Beach, Ala. on Sunday June 8, 2014.

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 02:01 PM

Shark attacks remain a rare occurrence despite continuing to make headlines lately.

According to USA Today, incidents like the one involving a great white shark that transpired Saturday at L.A.'s Manhattan Beach remain rare, even in the face of a growing population of sharks in U.S. waters and a rise in the number of unprovoked attacks recorded each year.

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"It's extremely uncommon," Tobey Curtis, a shark researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the newspaper.

In recent decades, shark populations — especially those of great white sharks — have swelled, owing in large part to conservation and protection efforts on the part of humans.

Also on the rise are the number of reported shark attacks. Since 1960, there have been approximately 2,000 "unprovoked" shark attacks, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Vox.com reported that "those numbers rose in the 1980s and 1990s" but also issued a caveat, saying "they're still very uncommon, with only around 50 or less each year."

Part of the uptick seen in the data is due to better reporting systems, which likely record a larger percentage of attacks with each improvement.

After crunching the data, the Florida Museum of Natural History has issued a number of comparison statistics to put the rarity of shark attacks into a proper context.

The museum notes that lightning strikes humans far more often than sharks do, and noted that during the period from 2001 to 2013, people were 33 times more likely to be killed by a dog than a shark. During that period sharks claimed the lives of 11 people, while dogs killed 364.

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Shark attacks remain a rare occurrence despite continuing to make headlines lately.
shark, attacks, still, rare
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2014-01-08
Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 02:01 PM
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