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The 22 Most Endangered Sharks in the World: How You Can Help Save Them

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Sharks are often portrayed as villains in popular culture, with movies like Jaws contributing to the misconception that they are bloodthirsty man-eaters. However, this misguided perception could not be further from the truth. In reality, many shark species are in grave danger of extinction, making them some of the most endangered animals on our planet. 

It is crucial that we take action to protect these fascinating creatures before it’s too late. In this article, we will examine the top 22 most endangered sharks in the world and explore what we can do to help protect them and ensure their survival for future generations to enjoy.

Key points

#SpeciesCommon NameAverage LengthMaximum LengthConservation Status
1Whale SharkRhincodon typus39-41 feet(12-13 m)Up to 60 feet (18 m)Endangered
2Great White SharkCarcharodon carcharias15-20 feet(4.6-6.1 m)Up to 20 feet (6.1 m)Endangered
3Scalloped HammerheadSphyrna lewini7-10 feet(2.1-3 meters)Up to 14 feet (4.3 m)Endangered
4Daggernose SharkIsogomphodon oxyrhynchus3-4 feet(1-1.2 meters)Up to 4.9 feet (1.5 m)Critically Endangered
5Ganges SharkGlyphis gangeticus6.6-9.8 feet(2-3 m)Up to 10 feet(3 m)Critically Endangered
6Angel SharkSquatina squatina5-6.5 feet(1.5-2 meters)Up to 8 feet(2.4 m)Endangered
7Pondicherry SharkCarcharhinus hemiodon5-6 feet(1.5-1.8 m)Up to 8 feet(2.4 m)Critically Endangered
8Basking SharkCetorhinus maximus20-26 feet(6-8 meters)Up to 32 feet (10 m)Vulnerable
9Porbeagle SharkLamna nasus6.6-10 feet(2-3 m)Up to 12 feet (3.7 m)Vulnerable
10Smoothback Angel SharkSquatina oculata5-6.5 feet(1.5-2 m)Up to 8 feet(2.4 m)Endangered
11GlyphisVariousVariousVariousCritically Endangered
12Squatina squatinaAngel Shark5-6.5 feet(1.5-2 m)Up to 8 feet(2.4 m)Critically Endangered
13Striped Smooth-HoundMustelus fasciatus4-5 feet(1.2-1.5 m)Up to 6.5 feet(2 m)Least Concern
14New Guinea River SharkGlyphis sp. C6.5-8.2 feet(2-2.5 m)Not well-documentedCritically Endangered
15Sand Tiger SharkCarcharias taurus6-10.5 feet(1.8-3.2 m)Up to 11.5 feet (3.5 m)Vulnerable
16Great Hammerhead SharkSphyrna mokarran13-16 feet(4-5 m)Up to 20 feet(6 m)Endangered
17Oceanic Whitetip SharkCarcharhinus longimanus8-13 feet(2.5-4 m)Up to 13-14 feet (4.3 m)Vulnerable
18Borneo SharkGlyphis fowleraeAround 2.5 metersUp to 2.5 metersData Deficient (DD)
19Speartooth SharkGlyphis glyphis7-8 feet(2-2.5 m)Up to 10 feet(3 m)Critically Endangered
20Smoothtooth Blacktip SharkCarcharhinus leiodonNot well-documentedNot well-documentedCritically Endangered
21Dusky SharkCarcharhinus obscurus9-11 feet(2.7-3.4 m)Up to 13 feet(4 m)Near Threatened
22Irrawaddy River SharkGlyphis siamensis6.6-7.9 feet(2-2.4 m)Up to 9.8 feet(3 m)Critically Endangered

Introduction

Sharks are an essential part of our oceans, playing a vital role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, research indicates that we are facing the loss of around a hundred million sharks annually by the end of the decade. These majestic creatures are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and pollution, among other factors.

Commercial fishing boats indiscriminately kill sharks by the millions every year, an unsustainable practice that is severely impacting their populations. Coastal development is also taking a toll, destroying important shark habitats such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. It’s clear that urgent action is required to address these pressing threats to shark populations and the health of our oceans.

The 22 most endangered sharks list includes many types of sharks that you might not even have heard of!

#1 Whale Shark

most endangered sharks
CategoryInformation
SpeciesWhale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
SizeAverage Length: 39-41 feet (12-13 m)
Maximum Length: Up to 60 feet (18 m)
WeightAverage Weight: 15-20 tons (30,000-40,000 lbs)
Maximum Weight: Over 40 tons (80,000 lbs)
ColorationPale yellow spots and stripes on the back and sides
Warm, tropical, and subtropical waters, but can be found in temperate regions
MouthBlue-grayish with a white belly
Feeding BehaviorFilter feeder, consuming plankton, small fish, and other microscopic organisms
LifespanEstimated 70-100 years
HabitatWarm, tropical and subtropical waters, but can be found in temperate regions
Often seen near the surface, but can dive to great depths
Conservation StatusEndangered

The sheer size of the whale shark is truly awe-inspiring. As the largest shark species, these gentle giants can grow up to 40 feet in length and weigh up to 47,000 pounds! If you’re curious about just how massive they are, be sure to check out our dedicated article on the largest whale shark. 

While their size may be intimidating, their diet is surprisingly small. These creatures feed primarily on plankton, making them harmless to humans. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for humans towards whale sharks. The species is endangered due to overfishing and being caught as bycatch, as well as hunted for their meat, oil, and fins. 

#2 Great White Shark

Great White Sharks have long been known as the most feared predator in the sea. Their powerful jaws and sharp teeth make them a force to be reckoned with. However, despite their fearsome reputation, these massive fish are in danger of extinction. There are several reasons for this, including overfishing, habitat loss, and human exploitation. 

Great White Sharks, like many other animals, have been exploited by humans for years. Their jaws are used to make trophies, while their fins are used to make soup. This exploitation has contributed to the decline of great white shark populations all around the world. But there is hope. By regulating fisheries and banning the fin trade, we can work to reduce these threats and protect these incredible creatures.  

#3 Scalloped Hammerhead

CategoryInformation
SpeciesScalloped Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini)
SizeAverage Length: 7-10 feet (2.1-3 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 14 feet (4.3 meters)
WeightAverage Weight: 200-300 pounds (90-136 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 450 pounds (204 kg) or more
ColorationGrayish-brown with a white or light-colored belly
Scalloped-shaped front margin of the hammer-shaped head
HeadUnique hammer-shaped head, called a “cephalofoil”
LifespanEstimated 20-30 years
HabitatCoastal and offshore waters worldwide
Often found in warm temperate and tropical seas
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous predator, feeding on fish, squid, octopus,
crustaceans, and occasionally small sharks and rays
Social BehaviorOften found in schools, particularly when young
Conservation StatusEndangered

The scalloped hammerhead shark is a magnificent creature that unfortunately finds itself on the brink of extinction. The largest of the hammerhead sharks, the scalloped hammerhead falls victim to overfishing by fisheries that catch them as by-catch and harvest their fins for shark fin soup. But there is a glimmer of hope for the scalloped hammerhead. 

Supporting sustainable fisheries, pushing for stricter regulations on shark finning, and raising awareness of its plight can all contribute to protecting this species. By throwing our support behind research and conservation efforts, we can work to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the scalloped hammerhead shark.

 #4 Daggernose Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesDaggernose Shark (Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 3-4 feet (1-1.2 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 4.9 feet (1.5 meters)
WeightAverage Weight: Not well-documented
ColorationGrayish-brown to bronze with a lighter underside
HeadUnique long, slender, and pointed snout, resembling a dagger
LifespanEstimated to be around 15-20 years
HabitatFound in coastal waters and estuaries of the western Atlantic, particularly in Brazil and neighboring regions
Often inhabits shallow, nearshore environments
Feeding BehaviorLikely feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered

The Daggernose shark, an endemic species to the coast of South Africa, is in critical danger of extinction. Overfishing, bycatch, and habitat loss are among the main threats that are pushing this shark to the edge of survival. Gillnets and trawl fisheries often catch the Daggernose shark as a bycatch, and the South African shark finning industry puts this species at the center of its trade. 

It is essential to implement management measures to tackle these pressing issues and reduce the incidental catch of the Daggernose shark. Along with this, more studies are required to gain a deeper understanding of the ecology and life history of the species and, in turn, protect it better. Public awareness and education about this and other endangered species are also crucial in generating support for conservation efforts.  

#5 Ganges Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesGanges Shark (Glyphis gangeticus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 6.6 to 9.8 feet (2 to 3 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 10 feet (3 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Not well-documented
ColorationGrayish-brown with a lighter belly
HeadShort, broad snout
LifespanEstimated to be around 25-30 years
HabitatRestricted to freshwater river systems in South Asia, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mahanadi River basins
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, likely preying on fish and other aquatic organisms
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered

The Ganges River in India is the exclusive home of the Ganges shark – one of the four rare species of freshwater sharks. As an apex predator, the Ganges shark plays a significant role in the river’s ecosystem by preying on various fish, including catfish, eels, and even other sharks. Its extinction would have a massive impact on the food web of the Ganges River, and consequently, the entire ecosystem. 

Sadly, human activities such as damming for hydroelectric projects, pollution, overfishing, and water usage are putting this species at risk. The Ganges shark is now on the IUCN’s list of most endangered species. Thankfully, Indian law provides protection for these sharks, but more still needs to be done to save them. The Ganges shark, being the only species known to inhabit this river, deserves our immediate and urgent attention to ensure its survival.

#6 Angel Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesAngel Shark (Squatina squatina)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Approximately 77 to 132 pounds (35 to 60 kg)
ColorationUsually brown or gray with lighter underside
Body ShapeBroad, flattened body with broad pectoral fins that resemble wings
LifespanEstimated to be around 25-35 years
HabitatFound in the coastal and continental shelf waters of the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea
Often found on sandy or muddy bottoms
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, feeding on a variety of bony fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods
Conservation StatusEndangered

The Angel Shark, a unique and mysterious species inhabiting the waters off the coast of California, is in danger of disappearing forever. With only a small population of 200-300 sharks left in the wild, it is imperative that we take action to ensure their survival. 

Unfortunately, the Angel Shark faces numerous threats, such as overfishing, bycatch, and habitat loss. However, there is hope. By raising awareness of the Angel Shark’s plight, reducing bycatch and habitat loss, and supporting research and conservation efforts, we can make a difference.  

#7 Pondicherry Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesPondicherry Shark (Carcharhinus hemiodon)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Not well-documented
ColorationGrayish-brown with a lighter belly
LifespanEstimated to be around 25-30 years
HabitatPreviously found in the coastal waters of the Bay of Bengal
Often inhabited shallow, nearshore environments
Feeding BehaviorLikely fed on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered

The Pondicherry shark is a fascinating and unique species that has sadly found itself on the brink of extinction. With an estimated population of only 250-270 individuals, it is one of the rarest and most endangered sharks in the world. Sadly, unsustainable fishing practices, including bycatch and finning, are the primary threats to this remarkable creature. 

If we want to help protect the Pondicherry shark and its habitat, we must support conservation efforts to ease fishing pressure and reduce bycatch. Advocating for stronger protections for this species is also essential. Furthermore, conscientiously monitoring our seafood consumption and avoiding products that might contribute to the decline of this beautiful shark is a good way to prevent its extinction.  

#8 Basking Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesBasking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 20-26 feet (6-8 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 32 feet (10 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Around 5-7 tons (10,000-14,000 pounds)
Maximum Weight: Up to 8 tons (16,000 pounds) or more
ColorationGrayish-brown to blackish with a lighter underside
MouthLarge mouth, approximately 3.3 feet (1 meter) wide
Feeding BehaviorPassive filter-feeder, mainly consuming plankton, small fish, and other microscopic organisms by filtering water through its gill rakers
LifespanEstimated to be around 50 years or more
HabitatFound in temperate and cold waters worldwide
Often observed near the surface, but can dive to significant depths
Conservation StatusVulnerable

The Basking shark is a gentle giant of the sea, navigating our oceans with its massive mouth agape, filtering for tiny bits of plankton. Sadly, this magnificent creature is currently an endangered species and faces several threats to its survival. Overfishing of the species for its fins and oil is a major problem, as well as the accidental capture of Basking sharks in nets meant for other fish. 

Additionally, habitat loss due to factors such as pollution and climate change put the Basking shark in danger. To help preserve the Basking shark’s habitat, we can support conservation efforts like reducing bycatch and habitat loss. These simple steps can go a long way in ensuring the Basking shark’s survival in our oceans.

#9 Porbeagle Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesPorbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 6.6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Approximately 440 to 660 pounds (200 to 300 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 1000 pounds (450 kg) or more
ColorationGrayish to bluish-gray on the upper body with a white belly
TeethSharp and serrated, adapted for catching and holding prey
LifespanEstimated to be around 30-40 years or more
HabitatFound in cold and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans
Prefers deep waters but can be found in coastal regions
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, preying on a variety of fish and cephalopods
ReproductionViviparous, giving birth to live young after internal fertilization
Conservation StatusVulnerable

The Porbeagle shark is a remarkable creature that inhabits both temperate and cold waters across the globe. Unfortunately, the decline in their population over the past few decades is a cause for great concern. These majestic animals are highly sought after for their meat, fins, and oil, which means they are heavily hunted. What many people don’t realize is that their actions are contributing to the decline of these sharks.

This is where we come in. It’s time to move away from the mindset of hunting and exploiting these creatures and instead embrace the idea of protecting them. We must raise awareness of their situation and do what we can to support conservation efforts that are working to reduce the demand for shark products.  

#10 Smoothback Angel Shark

CategoryInformation
FamilySquatinidae
HabitatSandy or muddy habitats in shallow waters, coastal areas, continental shelves, and estuaries
Physical CharacteristicsFlattened body shape with broad pectoral fins resembling wings
Short snout with barbels on lower jaws
Feeding BehaviorOpportunistic predators, feeding on small bony fish, crustaceans, and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates
ReproductionOvoviviparous – giving birth to live young after eggs hatch internally
Conservation StatusSome species are endangered or vulnerable due to overfishing, habitat degradation, and bycatch

The Porbeagle shark is a magnificent creature that deserves our protection. They are found in both temperate and cold waters, and their populations have been declining over the past few decades due to overhunting. Many people are unaware that their consumption of shark products, such as meat, fins, and oil, has contributed to the decline of these majestic animals. 

It’s time to shift our mindset away from hunting them and focus on conservation efforts that will reduce demand for products made from their bodies. As responsible stewards of this planet, it’s our duty to ensure that we leave it in a better state than when we found it.  

#11 Squatina Squatina

Squatina Squatina
CategoryInformation
SpeciesSquatina squatina
Common NameAngel Shark
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Approximately 440 to 660 pounds (200 to 300 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 1000 pounds (450 kg) or more
ColorationGrayish-brown to blackish with a lighter underside
Physical CharacteristicsBroad, flattened body with broad pectoral fins that resemble wings
HabitatFound in various regions of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms, as well as seagrass and rocky areas
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, preying on a variety of fish and cephalopods
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered

The Squatina Squatina, also known as the Angel Shark, is a species of shark found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its unique appearance and critical role in maintaining the food chain, the Squatina Squatina is threatened with extinction due to overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss. Unfortunately, this slow-reproducing shark is particularly vulnerable to overfishing, making it crucial for us to support sustainable fishing practices to prevent further depletion of the species. 

We also need to do our part by reducing pollution and properly disposing of waste, as it not only harms the Squatina Squatina but contaminates the water and affects its food supply. It’s time that we take action to help protect the Squatina Squatina and preserve our precious ocean ecosystems.

#12 Glyphis

 Glyphis
SpeciesCommon NameHabitatConservation Status
Glyphis gangeticusGanges SharkGanges and Brahmaputra River systems in South Asia (India, Bangladesh)Critically Endangered
Glyphis siamensisIrrawaddy River SharkIrrawaddy River in Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Thailand)Critically Endangered
Glyphis garrickiNorthern River SharkRiver systems in northern AustraliaCritically Endangered
Glyphis glyphisSpeartooth SharkNorthern Australia and southern New GuineaCritically Endangered

The Glyphis, a fascinating and unique species of river dolphin found in Australia and southern New Guinea, is sadly endangered due to a number of threats. A major concern is entanglement in fishing gear, which can trap and injure these dolphins. Pollution also poses a major threat, as it can contaminate the waters in which they live and impact their health. 

Habitat loss is another key factor in their endangerment, as their natural homes are increasingly under threat of being destroyed or fragmented. Luckily, there are various conservation efforts underway to help the Glyphis recover. In particular, reducing pollution and increasing awareness of their importance are key steps in their recovery.  

#13 Striped Smooth-Hound

Striped Smooth-Hound
CategoryInformation
SpeciesStriped Smooth-Hound (Mustelus fasciatus)
Common NameStriped Smooth-Hound
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Approximately 20 to 40 pounds (9 to 18 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 50 pounds (22 kg) or more
ColorationGrey or brown with distinct dark stripes along its body, especially on its back and sides
HabitatFound in shallow coastal waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts (USA) to Argentina
Often inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, feeding on small fish, crustaceans, and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates
ReproductionOvoviviparous – giving birth to live young after eggs hatch internally
Conservation StatusLeast Concern

The Striped Smooth-Hound is a fascinating species of hound shark that can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, this amazing creature faces some serious challenges. It is often caught as bycatch in gillnets and trawls, which only adds to the pressures it faces. Additionally, demand for this species in the live fish trade only serves to exacerbate the situation. 

Fortunately, there are things we can all do to help support the Striped Smooth-Hound. By adopting sustainable fishing practices and buying fish that are caught using methods that don’t harm other marine life, we can minimize our impact. We can also raise awareness about this endangered species by sharing information with others and supporting conservation efforts. 

#14 New Guinea River Shark

New Guinea River Shark
CategoryInformation
SpeciesGlyphis sp. C (New Guinea River Shark)
Common NameNew Guinea River Shark
SizeEstimated to be around 6.5 to 8.2 feet (2 to 2.5 meters)
WeightNot well-documented
HabitatFound in the freshwater river systems of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Papua Province of Indonesia)
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, likely preying on fish and other small aquatic organisms
Conservation StatusCritically endagered

The New Guinea River Shark is a fascinating species that is found exclusively in the waters of New Guinea. Unfortunately, this unique species is facing several threats that put its survival at risk. Habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution all contribute to the challenges that the New Guinea River Shark faces. 

But we can make a difference to help this shark. Through simple actions such as being mindful about the impact of our actions on the environment and supporting protective policies and measures, we can do our part to protect this species and its habitat. It is up to us to take action and ensure the survival of this magnificent and distinctive shark.

#15 Sand Tiger Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesSand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)
Other NamesGrey Nurse shark, Spotted Ragged-Tooth shark
SizeAverage Length: 6 to 10.5 feet (1.8 to 3.2 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Around 200 to 350 pounds (90 to 159 kg)
ColorationBrownish-gray or bronze with distinctive dark spots and ragged, protruding teeth
HabitatFound in coastal and offshore waters of temperate and subtropical regions worldwide
Often seen near rocky reefs, shipwrecks, and underwater structures
Feeding BehaviorPredatory, primarily feeding on fish and cephalopods
BehaviorRelatively docile but may look intimidating due to its large teeth; it is not known to be a threat to humans
Conservation StatusVulnerable

The sand tiger shark, a large species found throughout a vast region of the western Atlantic Ocean, is a unique and fascinating creature. Females of the species can reach lengths of up to 13 feet, surpassing their male counterparts in size. Although they are slow-moving and tend to stay near the ocean’s bottom, the sand tiger shark is an important part of the ecosystem. 

Unfortunately, overfishing and habitat loss put the species at great risk. The shark is often hunted for its fins, used in the production of shark fin soup, and is frequently caught as a bycatch in fisheries. As individuals, we can do our part to help support conservation efforts and avoid purchasing products made from shark fins. It is crucial that we take action to protect this magnificent creature and maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem.

#16 Great Hammerhead Shark

Great Hammerhead Shark
CategoryInformation
SpeciesGreat Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
SizeAverage Length: 13 to 16 feet (4 to 5 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 20 feet (6 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Approximately 500 to 1,000 pounds (227 to 454 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 1,300 pounds (590 kg) or more
ColorationGrayish-brown to olive-green with a white belly
HeadDistinctive hammer-shaped head (cephalofoil)
HabitatFound in coastal and offshore waters worldwide
Often found near the coast and in deep waters
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, preying on a variety of fish, squid, octopus, and other marine animals
Social BehaviorGenerally solitary, but aggregations can occur at specific locations and during mating seasons
Conservation StatusEndangered

The great hammerhead shark is arguably one of the most majestic creatures in the sea. Unfortunately, this species is facing numerous threats that endanger its very existence. Overfishing and bycatch are perhaps the greatest of these threats, as they directly impact the hammerhead shark’s population numbers. 

But that’s not all – coastal development and pollution are also taking a heavy toll on the hammerhead’s habitat. It’s time for us to take action and do our part in helping this magnificent creature thrive once again. We can start by cleaning up our coastlines and reducing pollution to create a healthier environment for the great hammerhead shark.  

#17 Oceanic Whitetip Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesOceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 8 to 13 feet (2.5 to 4 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 13 to 14 feet (4 to 4.3 meters)
WeightAverage Weight: Around 350 to 660 pounds (159 to 300 kg)
ColorationBluish-gray to bronze on the upper body with a white belly and distinctive white-tipped fins
HabitatFound in warm oceanic waters around the world
Pelagic species, often far from shore and in open ocean environments
Feeding BehaviorOpportunistic and primarily scavenger in nature
Feeds on a variety of prey, including small fish, squid, crustaceans, and carrion
Social BehaviorSolitary and occasionally forms loose aggregations
Conservation StatusVulnerable

The ocean is home to many beautiful and majestic creatures, including a type of shark that is in danger of extinction. It is estimated that only 300-500 of these sharks remain in the wild, and sadly, overfishing is causing their population to dwindle. The demand for their fins in the Asian market, where they are used in shark fin soup, is driving their endangerment. 

This cruel practice involves capturing the sharks and removing their fins while they are still alive. It is up to us to take action and stop this inhumane treatment of these amazing creatures. By supporting organizations that are fighting against finning and boycotting restaurants that serve shark fin soup, we can make a difference. Together, we can raise awareness and educate others on the importance of preserving these majestic animals for future generations to enjoy.

#18 Borneo Shark

The Borneo shark thrives in the waters surrounding the island of Borneo, but unfortunately, it is listed as endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss. Although it may not be the largest shark, it is certainly an important predator in its environment, preying on fish, squid, and octopuses. 

However, without intervention, the Borneo shark may soon disappear from the region entirely. It is vital that we work towards protecting this species by reducing the bycatch of this shark by fisheries, minimizing habitat loss through careful coastal development, and raising awareness of the perilous situation of this shark to generate support.  

#19 Speartooth Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesSpeartooth Shark (Glyphis glyphis)
Other NamesNone
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 7 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 10 feet (3 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Not well-documented
ColorationGrayish-brown to bronze on the upper body with a lighter belly
HabitatFound in the rivers and estuaries of northern Australia and southern New Guinea
Prefers freshwater habitats
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, preying on fish and other aquatic organisms
Conservation StatusCritically Endangered

The Speartooth Shark is a fascinating creature that plays a critical role in the balance of the marine ecosystem. Unfortunately, due to overfishing and the desire for their fins, this species now hovers on the brink of extinction, with only a few hundred left in the wild. 

We have the power to protect this remarkable creature by refusing to purchase products made from their fins and supporting conservation efforts. By spreading awareness and education about their plight, we can build a strong foundation of support to ensure their survival.  

#20 Smoothtooth Blacktip Shark

The Smoothtooth Blacktip Shark, with its sleek profile and formidable hunting skills, is under threat from overfishing and habitat loss. This species plays a crucial role in the Indian and Pacific Oceans coral reefs, where it preys on fish, octopuses, and squid, keeping populations in check and maintaining a delicate balance in the ecosystem. 

Its disappearance would be catastrophic, leading to an imbalance within the coral reef food chain and causing cascading effects throughout the entire ecosystem. We can help protect this magnificent creature by taking simple but effective actions such as reducing our consumption of seafood, supporting sustainable fisheries, and protecting and restoring coral reefs.  

#21 Dusky Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesDusky Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 9 to 11 feet (2.7 to 3.4 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 13 feet (4 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Around 400 to 790 pounds (181 to 358 kg)
Maximum Weight: Up to 1,100 pounds (500 kg) or more
ColorationBrown to grayish-brown with a white or light-colored underside
HabitatFound in tropical and temperate waters worldwide
Often seen near the coast, but can be found offshore as well
Feeding BehaviorPredatory, feeding on a variety of fish and cephalopods
Social BehaviorGenerally solitary and not known for forming large groups
Conservation StatusNear Threatened

The Dusky Shark is a powerful and fearsome creature that prowls the coastal waters of the world. Unfortunately, its aggressive nature has made it one of the most dangerous to humans, leading to recreational and commercial fisheries targeting these majestic animals. As a result, the Dusky Shark is now one of the most endangered sharks on the planet. 

Overfishing and the barbarous practice of shark finning are the main culprits for the Dusky Shark’s dwindling numbers. Despite their size and fearsomeness, these sharks have a slow reproductive rate and cannot keep up with such high mortality levels. To protect these creatures, one must first raise awareness about the importance of conserving them and the dire need for improved shark conservation and protection laws.

#22 Irrawaddy River Shark

CategoryInformation
SpeciesIrrawaddy River Shark (Glyphis siamensis)
Other NamesNone
SizeAverage Length: Approximately 6.6 to 7.9 feet (2 to 2.4 meters)
Maximum Length: Up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) or more
WeightAverage Weight: Not well-documented
ColorationGrayish-brown to bronze on the upper body with a lighter belly
HabitatFound in the Irrawaddy River and its estuaries in Myanmar and Thailand
Feeding BehaviorCarnivorous, preying on fish, crustaceans, and other small aquatic organisms
Conservation Statuscritically Endagered

The Irrawaddy River Shark is a fascinating but critically endangered species of shark that inhabits the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. It is one of the few sharks in the world that lives in rivers, making it a truly unique species. Unfortunately, the primary threat to this remarkable creature is human activity. Overfishing, particularly bycatch in gillnet and trawl fisheries, has pushed the species to the brink of extinction. 

As a result, the IUCN has listed the Irrawaddy River Shark as “critically endangered” and has called for urgent conservation measures to protect it from extinction. The survival of this amazing species of shark depends on our actions, and it’s high time we worked together to save it from the brink of extinction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What makes sharks endangered?

Sharks are currently facing multiple threats that have led to their endangered status. Among these threats, overfishing stands out as a major concern, with sharks being specifically targeted for their fins, meat, and other valuable products. Another significant problem is bycatch, where sharks get unintentionally caught in fishing gear that is primarily meant for other species. Furthermore, the destruction of their habitats, pollution, and the impacts of climate change are also playing a crucial role in the decline of shark populations. 

How many shark species are endangered?

As of September 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has categorized over 180 shark species as either threatened or near-threatened. This classification includes species that are critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable. This alarming status highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect these vulnerable creatures and ensure their survival for future generations.

Why are sharks important?

Sharks hold a vital role in the preservation and equilibrium of marine ecosystems. As apex predators, they play a significant part in regulating the populations of their prey species, thereby influencing the entire structure of the marine food web. The presence of healthy shark populations is indispensable for the well-being of marine ecosystems and the various species that depend on them. Their conservation is crucial to maintaining the delicate balance of life beneath the waves.

What happens if sharks go extinct?

As apex predators, sharks play a crucial role in controlling the populations of prey species. If sharks were to disappear, there would be nothing to regulate the populations of certain species, leading to potential overpopulation of those prey species. This disruption, known as a “trophic cascade,” can have cascading effects throughout the entire marine food web.

With an uncontrolled increase in certain prey species, their consumption of other organisms lower down the food chain would escalate. This could result in the decline or depletion of those species, affecting the next level of the food web, and so on. Ultimately, this trophic cascade effect can lead to significant imbalances in marine ecosystems, causing a ripple effect of negative consequences on various species and the overall ecological structure.

Final Word

Sharks are some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth, but unfortunately, many species are at risk of disappearing forever. In fact, this article lists 22 of the most endangered sharks in the world. All of these species are endangered mainly due to overfishing, habitat loss, and finning. While these animals may be intimidating, they are actually in desperate need of our assistance. 

It is essential that we take responsibility for helping these creatures continue to thrive in the world’s oceans as they play a vital role in marine ecosystems. By creating new technologies and finding new ways to protect the ocean, humans can work towards building a brighter future for sharks, our oceans, and ourselves. The decrease in shark populations also has a considerable impact on the shark cage diving industry.  

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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