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Captive Shark Hailed as Feminist Hero

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Last week in a Seoul, South Korea aquarium, a female sand tiger shark ate her male aquarium-mate, a bounded hound shark, after what aquarium officials are calling a “turf war.” Naturally, the internet blew up over this shark who was immediately hailed as a male-hating hero, and tons of people got hype over her “leaning-in.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for ladies staking their claims in a patriarchal society, but let’s not misunderstand the female shark’s actions for some kind of feminist victory.

Sharks are known for being particularly hostile towards one another in utero, but it’s not normal behavior for adult sharks to resort to cannibalism. Videos that have surfaced were taken over a period of 21 hours, and show the female shark slowly ingesting the male, not unlike watching a snake swallow its prey.

An aquarium official told Reuters, “Sharks have their own territories. Sometimes, when they bump into each other, they bite out of astonishment.” Yikes! Sounds like the open ocean might be a better place to be studying sharks, huh? Although the feminist sounding-off is clearly a joke, (we all know the lady shark was not a fishy Sheryl Sandburg) let’s take a closer look at the effects of captivity on animal behavior instead of having a laugh.

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