We, at Nakawe Project, are greatly saddened to hear the news of a recent tiger shark attack that occurred in Isla del Coco, Costa Rica on Thursday, 30 November. It has been reported that a female tiger shark was to blame for the attack, which resulted in the death of an American woman and the injury of a diving instructor. The instructor is reported to have sustained a serious leg injury, but is said to be in stable condition. According to the operator of the private tour, this is the first time a tiger shark has ever attacked a human in Cocos Island. The loss of human life is always extremely tragic and as a community we offer our condolences to those affected, especially the families and friends dealing with the loss and injuries of loved ones. At times like these, however, we also think it is important to remember that, though frightening, shark attacks are extremely rare events that do not often result in the loss of human life. The attack in Costa Rica this past week is especially rare and sad, as shark populations have seen a 90% decline in the country in recent years, and tiger sharks have only returned to Cocos Island within the last decade after being absent for 30 years. Though the nature of this event is extremely upsetting and tragic, in its’ aftermath, we are hopeful that this will not lead any parties to react with impulsivity or call for increased shark fishing in the area.
We must all still keep in mind the rarity of events like this one and that sharks are wild animals, critically threatened apex predators, who remain in serious need of our conservation efforts.