Meet Sharks4Kids Regional Ambassador Tyler Mahler
Tyler is an avid diver, underwater photographer and also works with disabled veterans, helping them explore the ocean through Scuba. We are thrilled to welcome Tyler to the team. He will be visiting schools in South Florida, so message us if you are interested in a JAWsome shark education session.
1. What is your favorite shark and why?
My favorite shark is the Tiger Shark because they are naturally inquisitive and unafraid to come in close and interact with scuba divers. I feel like tiger sharks are the Golden Retrievers of the shark species, always looking for attention.
2. What is one shark you would like to see in the wild?
I’ve seen just about every shark species in the wild possible, but I always enjoy an appearance from Hammerheads, Great White Sharks, and Sawfish.
3. Why did you start diving with sharks?
I remember the encounter like it was yesterday. In 2005 I was diving off Port Lucaya in the Bahamas and a Caribbean Reef Shark tagged along. I was instantly terrified, but quickly learned that the shark was just curious and I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the encounter. I was bitten by the shark bug ever since!
4. Can you tell us about one of your coolest shark moments?
I was diving off the coast of North Carolina to visit U-352, a Nazi submarine sunk by the Coast Guard in 1942. While on my safety stop in poor visibility, a shark slowly appeared out of the darkness. I didn’t realize it until the shark was about ten feet away from me that it was a Great White Shark! Unexpected shark interactions are always a special treat.
5. Why do you think shark education is important?
Almost 100,000,000 sharks are killed each year and at that rate sharks face possible extinction within a generation. Sharks have been around a few hundred million years and they predate humans and even dinosaurs. You would think sharks would be around for another couple hundred million years. Sadly, this may not be the case due to over-fishing by commercial and recreational fishermen.
6.What message do you hope to teach to kids?
I hope to teach the kids that the sharks need their help. Children will inherit the future and their voice can make a difference now. I hope to inspire them enough to talk to their parents and families about the plight of sharks. One child can impact dozens of adults to save sharks and our oceans for future generations.
7. Why do you think sharing your diving experience is an important tool for conservation and education?
I’m passionate about shark conservation and I’ve been fortunate to experience hundreds of shark interactions all around the world. I hope these experiences, with the help of photos and videos, will show the children that sharks are not aggressive, but are rather shy. They tend to eat the old, sick, or slower fish keeping that population healthier. I’ve never seen a shark act aggressively in the water, in fact it is common to see fish school around a shark for protection from other predators. Sharks inhabit our oceans, roughly 2/3 of the planet and play a vital role in the health of our oceans and need our help.