Egyptian Expert Answers Why are Bull Sharks Venturing into Swimming Areas, Killing...

Egyptian Expert Answers Why are Bull Sharks Venturing into Swimming Areas, Killing Vladimir Popov

Image for illustration purposes only.

Yesterday, a horrifying incident unfolded in Hurghada, Egypt, where Russian citizen Vladimir Popov met a tragic end in a fatal bull shark attack.

This event has thrown into sharp relief a pressing question: why are these marine predators making their way into frequented swimming areas?

Ahmed Al-Maghribi, captain of the Damietta fishermen, provided a compelling explanation.

He highlighted a little-known environmental consequence of Eid Al Adha, a significant religious event where sheep are imported in large numbers from various African and European countries to Muslim countries in the Middle East.

“During this period, shipping vessels carrying sheep often discard dead livestock and slaughter waste into the sea. This, unfortunately, attracts sharks, drawing them closer to the shore,” Al-Maghribi elucidated.

“The temperatures during this season also play a part, pushing these predatory animals to adjust their hunting patterns, and subsequently leading to more encounters with humans,” the man added.

During Eid Al-Adha, a significant increase in sheep imports is observed in Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, especially from European and African nations. Data indicates that in 2022, over 5 million sheep were imported to the region for the religious fest, a 15% increase from previous years. The demand arises from the ritualistic sacrifices associated with the Islamic festival. Australian and South African exporters play a crucial role, with both nations combined providing approximately 60% of the sheep.

Stress, heat, and overcrowding can lead to illnesses or even death of transported sheep. Reports indicate that mortality rates in live animal shipping can vary, with ranges from under 1% to as high as 10% in some cases. However, this can depend heavily on travel conditions and distances.