My Life Tracking the Great White Shark
Dr. Greg Skomal, one of the leading great white shark experts in the country, reveals the true nature of these mysterious apex predators, as well as the fascinating story behind their history and startling resurgence
With its quaint villages, local restaurants serving up lobster rolls, and miles and miles of warm, sandy beaches, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is famous for being America's carefree seaside getaway. But in August 2012, the first confirmed white shark attack in almost eighty years occurred in the region. As shark sightings quickly began to increase on Cape Cod and elsewhere, and large beachside billboards warning about the growing shark population became a common sight, a boogie boarder died after being attacked by a great white shark in Cape Cod's shallow waters. What had changed to cause news of human-shark interactions to go from being a rarity to being the new normal? As some citizens called for shark culls, nets, drone surveillance, and other extreme solutions, interactions between local residents and scientists, politicians, and those responsible for public safety became tense and frantic.
Dr. Greg Skomal, a shark biologist whose lifelong passion has been to gain a more refined understanding of great white sharks, was at the center of it all. This is the story of the great white shark's return to the eastern seaboard, told through the life of the scientist who found himself in the oftentimes thankless position of having to balance conservation efforts and the drive to do important science with panic and fear in the court of public opinion. Greg has spent decades on a quest to tag, track, and demystify this animal, using every high- and low-tech method at his disposal, including those he invented, and he frequently comes face-to-face with these shadows of the deep. He leaves no stone unturned in his pursuit of the secrets behind the largely unknown lives of these charismatic creatures and in his duty to solve the intricate puzzle of how humans can coexist alongside them. Chasing Shadows is a too-rare conservation success story about restoring an apex predator to an ecosystem that provides a profound, new understanding of a beast so notoriously fierce that it's nearly impossible to imagine how vulnerable it truly is.