This week, Gulf State Park celebrates all things shark


GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s finally shark week, and Gulf State Park officials said they’ve been waiting all year for this week.

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Throughout the week, guests can participate in different shark-themed activities at Lake Shelby to learn more about the sharks native to the Gulf of Mexico.

Shark sightings at not as uncommon as many people may think.

In fact, our Sky 5 Drone captured footage of sharks swimming in the water near Orange Beach this May.

Now, Gulf State Park officials said they want to engage the community to reduce the stigma often associated with sharks.

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Hannah Russell, a Gulf State Park Naturalist, said she thinks that the media and movies like “Jaws” create an innate fear of sharks for many people.

“They are something to be a little bit afraid of. But I think that’s why they get such a bad rap is a lot of the movies and media and stuff portray them all as people eaters,” Russell said.

Russell said that sharks are more common to see during the summer around the Gulf Coast because they are naturally drawn to warmer water, like other marine life.

She said that although there’s no way to guarantee you won’t see a shark in the ocean, there are ways to avoid them.

“If you see someone that’s fishing off of the beach, probably just avoid swimming in that area,” Russell said. “We always say that when people are fishing, about 100 yards on either side of them is a really good distance to keep.”

She said fishermen should ensure they do not have any bait or catches in their pockets when going into the water to cast a line.

Emily Rupp was visiting Orange Beach with her family when she noticed the signs for Shark Week at Lake Shelby. She said she was very excited because she loves sharks and learning more about them.

“I think it’s fun to learn about something that’s not humans because they’re different than us. They’re different. They have their own personality,” Rupp said.

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To learn more about Shark Week at Gulf State Park you can visit their website.

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