Sharks are usually something Canadians only have to worry about (and not really) when they travel south, but that could soon change thanks to global warming.
Rising ocean temperatures are causing tropical sharks and other southern wildlife to migrate north, to the point where they’re actually changing the makeup of Canadian waters. A group of divers and scientists who’ve been studying the area off of Vancouver Island have seen all kinds of strange animals hanging out here, including “tons of” blue sharks, jellyfish, leatherback turtles, mola mola fish and even dolphins.
“We are certainly documenting significant change,” Ian McAllister, co-founder of non-profit conservation group Pacific Wild, said. “And it no longer seems to be an anomaly but a norm facing our coast.”
While many Canadians might get excited at the thought of their coasts teeming with colourful, tropical wildlife, there is a very serious dark side to these changes.
The warming waters pose a threat to Canadian wildlife that relies on cold temperatures to survive, such as orcas and sea otters. Additionally, all of the new life migrating north could introduce new predators for many species who already live here.
“The sad thing [is] photographing dying sea otters, photograph dying orcas, there’s been dying humpbacks and fin whales…There’s been this hardship and tough things to photograph as well as the beautiful things,” National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen said.
And that, friends, is a whole lot scarier than the prospect of a shark attack. You can learn more about how Canadian marine life is changing in the video above.