Whale sharks are gentle giants found in Pakistan, the
Maldives, India, the Phillipines and Taiwan. According to these non-predatory feeders simply swim with their large mouths open, collecting plankton and small fish. Whale sharks are harpoon-fished and their meat, liver oil, and fins are sold on the black market in Taiwan. The National Geographic, IUCN labels the species as "Vulnerable." Photo: Paul Cowell Photography/Getty
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
Scalloped hammerheads swim all around the globe in coastal temperate seas and are aggressive hunters, feeding on smaller fish, octopus, and squid, according to
These sharks are victims of National Geographic. bycatch from commercial fishing, including trawls, purse-seines, fixed bottom longlines, and artisanal fisheries. Since they travel in large schools, many are often caught all at once. They're listed as "Endangered." Photo: Michele Westmorland/Getty
Sandbar sharks are found all over in worldwide tropical waters. They are an unaggressive species, and according to the
Monterey Bay Aquarium, they play well with other fish. These animals are caught by shark fisheries using longlines, hook-and-lines, and set bottom nets. The IUCN calls the sandbar shark "Threatened," partly because they make up two to three percent of all the shark fins auctioned in Hong Kong, the world's largest shark fin trading center. Photo: Ian Cartwright/Getty
Shortfin Mako Shark
Shortfin makos are unofficially called the "
peregrine falcons of the shark world," as their torpedo-like bodies enable them to swim up to 22 miles per hour, making them fastest of all sharks, according to the Discovery Channel. Sadly, the IUCN named them "Vulnerable" in 2009 and states that shortfin makos are fished for their valuable meat and fins. They constitute 10 percent of the sharks caught by Spanish longline fleets in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Photo: James R.D. Scott/Getty
Tawny Nurse Shark
The tawny nurse shark hangs out in the Indo-West Pacific with
reported local extinctions in India and Thailand. According to the Shark Foundation, they snack on crab, squid, octopus, coral, sea urchin, and fish. This shark's docility and habit of resting in caves and crevices during the day makes it especially susceptible to capture and harassment by diving tourists or fishers. Listing them as "Vulnerable," the IUCN also reports that reef destruction is a problem for them because it destroys their homes. Photo: James R.D. Scott/Getty
Sand Tiger Shark
Sand tiger sharks can be spotted all through the Indo-West Pacific. And even though their large bodies and protruding teeth make them seem aggressive, swears they are a docile and non-aggressive species. Sand tiger shark meat is frozen, smoked, dried and salted for human consumption in Asia's shark trade. The IUCN lists them as "Vulnerable." National Geographic Photo: Christian Rummel/Getty
Leopard sharks, known as zebra sharks when they are young (before their stripes spread into spots), are native to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean. They are a species of carpet shark, so called for their markings and bottom-dwelling habits. Like many of the other sharks in this story, they are listed as "Vulnerable." The leopard shark is negatively affected by
inshore fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean, where its population has declined drastically. Photo: Soren Egeberg Zeamonkey Images/Getty
Oceanic White Tip Shark
One of the most widespread shark species, oceanic white tips are found in almost all tropical and subtropical waters. They are caught in longline, gillnet, and handline fisheries and sold into international trade. The IUCN deems the oceanic white tip "Critically Endangered" in the Northwest and Western Central Atlantic, where the species has experienced a 70 percent decline. Elsewhere, the shark is listed as "Vulnerable."
The Daily Wild: Nature’s Most Incredible Creatures
Indelible images from the ever-changing world of wild animals.
Back to cover
Next photo gallery: The Daily Wild: Nature’s Most Incredible Creatures