Discovery Shark Week 2024 Kicks Off Next Week Featuring South African Shark Experts

Discovery Shark Week 2024 Kicks Off Next Week Featuring South African Shark Experts

The wait is over! Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, the longest-running and most anticipated TV event in history, returns to South Africa on Monday, 15 July, on Discovery Channel Africa (DStv channel 121). Hosted by the one and only John Cena, this year promises groundbreaking discoveries, thrilling encounters, and a spotlight on South Africa’s very own shark experts.

Local Heroes Making Waves:

This Shark Week, we journey alongside South African heroes who are not just making waves, but also dedicating their lives to shark conservation and research, showcasing their unwavering dedication and inspiring commitment.

Join Zandile Ndhlovu, South Africa’s Black Mermaid in Monster Hammerheads: Species X, premiering Tuesday, 16 July at 18:10 CAT, as she dives with Dr Austin Gallagher in the Turks and Caicos, investigating a potentially new species of aggressive Hammerhead sharks. Zandile also joins Dr Gallagher’s team in Belly of the Beast: Bigger and Bloodier on Sunday, 21 July at 17:15 CAT where they study massive great whites in New Zealand.

Discovery Shark Week 2024 Kicks Off Next Week Featuring South African Shark Experts

“Joining Monster Hammerheads: Species X was an incredible opportunity to combine my passion for freediving and showcasing the beauty and diversity of sharks,” says Zandile, South Africa’s first Black female freediving instructor and founder of the Black Mermaid Foundation. “I hope to inspire others, especially young girls from underrepresented communities, to connect with the ocean and become advocates for its protection.”

In 6000-LB. Shark, premiering on Saturday, 20 July at 18:10 CAT, Leigh de Necker, Marine Biologist, teams up with Tom “The Blowfish” Hird to track down massive Great White Sharks off the coast of New Zealand, using cutting-edge science to weigh them and analyse their diet.

“Filming 6,000-LB Shark for Discovery Shark Week 2024 in New Zealand was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life,” says Leigh. “To witness these magnificent creatures in their element, surrounded by five, six, even seven at a time, was awe-inspiring. These weren’t just any sharks; we’re talking chunky animals between 3.5 and 5.5 meters in size! My marine biologist brain was in overdrive! Why were there so many sharks? Why were some so large? What were they feeding on? Could any be our South African sharks? This experience has deepened my fascination with these incredible creatures and fuelled my passion for their conservation.”

Witness groundbreaking research in the Great White Danger Zone on Monday, 15 July, at 17:15 CAT, as Dr Alison Towner, Shark Scientist, and her team investigate a new Great White hotspot off the South African coast, uncovering unusual behaviours in these apex predators.

Discovery Shark Week 2024 Kicks Off Next Week Featuring South African Shark Experts

Southern African white sharks are currently a subject of intense mystery. Human activities and killer whale predation have drastically shifted their habitat use in this region. Great White Danger Zone investigates how white sharks are adapting to these changes at the southern tip of Africa,” commented Dr Alison.  “It also provided an opportunity for me to collaborate again with Dr Oliver Jewell from the University of Western Australia, with whom I spent over 800 hours tracking white sharks around Gansbaai, in the Western Cape, in the decade before these ecological shifts occurred. This work underscores the urgent need for resources to support white shark research in this region, as these displacements redefine our global understanding of coastal ecosystems, particularly when apex predators vanish.”

Celebrating 20 Years of Shark Conservation:

In 1991, South Africa became the first country to protect great white sharks. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Shark Spotters are a pioneering organisation dedicated to shark conservation, research, and education in South Africa. Their innovative and sustainable approach to reducing human-shark conflict has gained global attention and evolved to uncover key insights into the movements and behaviour of white sharks alongside researchers, including Dr Alison Towner.

“As Shark Spotters celebrates its twentieth year, we recognise the excitement and wonder that sharks inspire in people, especially during Discovery Channel’s Shark Week,” says Sarah Waries, CEO of Shark Spotters. “Our work aims to ensure the sustainable coexistence of people and sharks in our oceans, conserve these important animals, protect the marine environment, and create responsible ocean users. We look forward to sharing this with the world during Shark Week.”

Discovery Shark Week 2024 Kicks Off Next Week Featuring South African Shark Experts

Programming Highlights:

Great White Danger Zone – Monday, 15 July @ 17:15 CAT

Alison Towner and her team investigate a new great white hotspot off the coast of South Africa. Equipped with cutting-edge fin cameras, tracking tags and underwater surveillance, researchers unveil unusual behaviour in these massive great whites. 

Deadliest Bite – Tuesday, 16 July @ 17:15 CAT

A group of shark experts set out to discover which shark species has the deadliest bite. Using bite force meters, biomedical imaging, and a cutting-edge super slow-motion camera rig, they’ll document and analyse shark bites like never before.

Monster Hammerheads: Species X – Tuesday, 16 July @ 18:10 CAT

Dr Austin Gallagher and his team of researchers, including Liv Dixon, Zandi Ndhlovu, and Dr Tristan Guttridge, investigate an aggressive population of Hammerhead Sharks in Turks and Caicos, which they believe could be an entirely new species.

Great White Serial Killer: Sea of Blood – Wednesday, 17 July @ 17:15 CAT

After fatal shark attacks in 2022 and 2023 off the shore of a Mexican fishing village, shark attack survivor Paul De Gelder joins shark investigator Brandon McMillan to work with locals to ID the killers and help prevent future attacks from happening.

Alien Sharks: Ghost of Japan – Thursday, 18 July @ 17:15 CAT

Wildlife biologist Forrest Galante explores the alien world of Japan’s oceans. Teaming up with deep-sea shark expert Christina de Silva, they search for the extremely rare Japanese angelshark, the “ghost of the sea.”

Jaws vs. Leviathan – Friday, 19 July @ 17:15 CAT

In New Zealand, a clash of titans is about to erupt: the Great White versus a 60-foot leviathan. Dr Tristan Guttridge and Kina Scollay simulate epic battles and study orca tactics to discover the ultimate predator.

Sharks of the Dead Zone – Saturday, 20 July @ 17:15 CAT

Dr Tiara Moore has discovered bull sharks thriving in polluted, algae-filled lagoons. Teaming up with Dr Craig O’Connell, they study why pregnant females still migrate there and how their pups survive in a seemingly hostile environment.

6000-LB. Shark – Saturday, 20 July @ 18:10 CAT

With reports of enormous fat white sharks appearing off the coast of New Zealand, scientists Tom Hird and Leigh de Necker set out to find one of these behemoths and determine if the great white can reach a staggering 6,000 lbs.

Belly of the Beast: Bigger and Bloodier  – Sunday, 21 July @ 17:15 CAT

Join Dr Austin Gallagher and his fearless team as they deploy a 29-foot whale decoy to attract and study massive great whites in New Zealand. Witness their feeding frenzy as they uncover dominant “Queen Boss” females ruling male-dominated clans.

Shark Attack Island – Sunday, 21 July @ 18:10 CAT

A South Pacific paradise has become a shark attack hot spot with Bull, Tiger and Great White sharks moving closer and closer to resort beaches. Seven people have been killed in just the last five years, some in knee-deep water only steps from the sand.

Don’t Miss a Moment of the Action:

In addition to the programmes featuring local South African shark experts, the highly anticipated annual week-long celebration of sharks will include the next chapter of the hit show Belly of the Beast, which offers a fascinating look at a Great White shark feeding frenzy, and Deadliest Bite, which delves deep into how a shark’s jaws and teeth deliver lethal attacks! Shark Week starts Monday, 15 July, on Discovery Channel Africa (DStv channel 121).

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