Nat Geo WILD: ‘Shark Attack’ Q&A with Dr. Vic Peddemors

Dr. Vic Peddemors is one of the lead scientific experts on Shark Attack Experiment: LIVE. In the hectic days leading up to the live event, we had a chance to ask him a few quick questions about the project.

Why is what we’re doing here with Shark Attack Experiment: LIVE so important?

Vic: Because what we’re trying to do is dispel the myth of the shark attack, and reduce the fear of sharks out there in the public realm.

How will what we do with these ‘experiments’ quell people’s fears?

Vic: Well, these demos that we’re doing are trying to use things that are in everyone’s mind when they go into the water. “Is this going to increase my risk of a shark biting me?” etc. And what we are going to do is dispel those myths.

Why is this show different than other shows that try to dispel shark myths?

Vic: The other shows have not taken a very systematic approach and that’s what we are doing. In addition, most of those shows have not used sharks that are potentially dangerous, that have been implicated in attacks on humans in the past. We are.  This show is unique because not only are we doing this in a systematic manner, we are testing our ‘experiments’ on wild sharks that have been known to bite people.

Why is this positive in your opinion?

Vic: To me, the most exciting thing about this show is that for the first time we are really going into a bit of depth into what sharks are doing and why they potentially interact with humans. It’s never been done at dawn before. No show has ever done this at dawn—to me that is the period when sharks are most active all around the world, and we tell people all the time to never swim at dusk or dawn, and we are putting the proof in the pudding. Are we really more in danger at dawn or at changing light conditions? That is what makes this show unique.

Dr. Vic Peddemors heads the shark research section of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), providing scientific leadership for the group’s research and advisory effort. He is also an associate professor in marine biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and is a visiting fellow at the Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney. Learn more about Vic Peddemors and his 25 years of scientific research experience.

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Alison Walsh is Director, Digital Media, for National Geographic Channels. She loves history, space, cats, and the Oxford comma.