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Great White Shark

Overview

  • Status
    Vulnerable
  • Scientific Name
    Carcharodon carcharias
  • Weight
    4,000-7,000 pounds
  • Length
    16-20 feet
  • Habitats
    Oceans

The great white shark is the world's largest known predatory fish. It has 300 teeth, yet does not chew its food. Sharks rip their prey into mouth-sized pieces which are swallowed whole. The shark’s heavy, torpedo-shaped body allows it to cruise efficiently for long periods of time, and then suddenly switch to high speed bursts in pursuit of prey—sometimes leaping out of the water. It feeds on a broad spectrum of prey, from small fish, such as halibut, to large seals and dolphins.

Shark Facts vs. Shark Myths

Get shark facts and help WWF dispel myths about sharks during Shark Week and beyond. How many of these have you heard?

porbeagle shark

Why They Matter

  • As large and powerful predators, great white sharks play an important role at the top of the marine food chain. Despite its fame and reputation, little is actually known about the great white shark’s biology and behavior.

Threats

  • Extinction Risk Vulnerable
    1. EX
      Extinct

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN
      Endangered

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU
      Vulnerable

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

Great White Shark

Great white sharks are decreasing in numbers and are rare due to years of being hunted by man for fins and teeth, and often as a trophy for sport fishing. The white shark is often caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries and can also become entangled in meshes that protect beaches.

What WWF Is Doing

Great White Shark

WWF supports research and monitoring of white sharks as they migrate to and from the Gulf of California. Sharks are tagged and the movements are tracked by satellite. This information on their behavior will help with a management plan for the protected area where they are found (Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve), such as how to protect them from bycatch and to regulate tourism.

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