A 10-year-old boy’s leg is torn off as a result of an attack by a suspected bull shark. Worldwide, swimmers account for 30 percent of attack incidents.
On May 25, a young boy was swimming with his sister at a restricted section in Noumea, New Caledonia when he was attacked by a shark. The child’s father jumped into the water to try and save his son, but by then the shark had already torn off the boy's leg, and he had also suffered injuries to the abdomen. The current condition of the child is unknown.
New Caledonia is a French overseas territory where shark attacks are quite common. According to witnesses, the shark that attacked the child was likely a bull shark.
Bull sharks are common, aggressive, and often live near high-population locations such as tropical shorelines. Along with great white sharks and tiger sharks, bull sharks are one of three shark species most likely to attack humans. As such, many experts find bull sharks to be the most dangerous shark in the world.
Bull sharks are fast predators that will eat anything from fish to dolphins and even other sharks. While humans are often not a part of their menu, they end up attacking humans inadvertently or merely out of curiosity.
Global Shark Attacks
In 2018, the International Shark Attack File investigated 130 alleged human-shark interactions, 66 of which were confirmed to be unprovoked attacks while 34 were provoked attacks, or attacks that happened when the human initiates the contact in one way or another such as when people attempt to feed sharks or touch them.
In general, the total number of unprovoked shark attacks declined in 2018, as the annual average number of unprovoked shark attacks from 2013 to 2017 was 84. The United States had the most unprovoked shark attacks with 32 confirmed cases, 16 of which occurred in Florida. Again, this shows a downward trend in shark attacks compared to 2017 when there were 53 incidents in the country.
As the human populations continue to increase and so does the interest in outdoor recreational activities, human-shark incidences are expected to rise. That said, shark populations are greatly in decline because of factors such as habitat loss and overfishing. Furthermore, the average annual human fatalities from unprovoked shark attacks are six, while humans kill 100 million sharks and rays every year.