Plus - Letter to the editor

Sharks close-up

By Rex I. de Silva, Author of “A History of the Sharks of Sri Lanka” (Royal Asiatic Society, 1995). Piliyandala

I refer to the article “Eye-to-eye encounter”, which appeared in the Sunday Times Magazine of October 4, in which it was indicated that it may have been the first time sharks may have been filmed at close quarters “in the wild” in Sri Lanka.

Permit me to clarify that large predatory sharks have been photographed underwater in Sri Lanka since the 1950s, and many of these images have been published in the literature on diving.

A nine-foot Grey Reef Shark photographed underwater on Akurala reef in 1954 appears in Arthur C. Clarke’s “Reefs of Taprobane” (Muller, 1957), and numerous photographs of large predatory sharks taken underwater on the Great Basses Reef in the 1960s appear in Arthur C. Clarke’s “Indian Ocean Adventure” (Arthur Barker, 1962) and “Treasure of the Great Reef” (Harper and Row, 1964).

In 1958, Mike Wilson made a film titled “Beneath the Seas of Ceylon”, sponsored by the Tea Propaganda Board, which was based almost entirely on large sharks and groupers at the Great Basses Reef.

Additionally, Rodney Jonklaas, Cedric Martenstyn, Carlyle Ranasinghe and many others photographed sharks underwater in Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 1980s.

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