Shark Week 2020 | Clarke Gayford's 'Shark Lockdown' reveals how Covid-19 affected New Zealand's Great Whites
Spoilers for 'Shark Lockdown', part of Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2020 programming
Unlike many countries, New Zealand has gotten through its Covid-19 lockdown relatively well, thanks to the strict measures put in place by the government and the ruling Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Now a Shark Week 2020 documentary featuring Ardern's partner and fiance, documentary presenter Clarke Gayford, has revealed the extent to which the lockdown has affected great white sharks.
Around the world, there have been reports of renewed animal and bird activity following the initiation of lockdown measures in various countries. Without human beings running around making a bunch of noise and disturbances, the animal kingdom has been thriving in most parts of the world.
Keeping with that trend, the Great White sharks of New Zealand's Foveaux Strait also appear to have found a new lease on life. Without human activity in the vicinity, more and more sharks are approaching the shore and this creates a unique opportunity. While the younger sharks tend to be more easily spotted, the older and bigger female sharks are exceptionally elusive. Even the experienced shark researcher and filmmaker Kina Scollay, who is also one of the presenters of the documentary, reveals in 'Shark Lockdown' that it is extremely difficult for even veteran researchers to find some of the biggest sharks out there.
"Over many years of studying them here, we've seen and got to know some of these females so well that we know them by name yet when they get to a certain size, they disappear," he explains.
The purpose of the documentary is to explore what it is that attracts these big females to this particular part of the world and where exactly they disappear. We won't be revealing the results of the experiment since we don't want to take away from your viewing experience, but the documentary as a whole presents an interesting picture.
Without humans in the water, 'Shark Lockdown' reveals that the sharks seem to be reasserting their dominance and getting bolder than ever before. It really raises questions about how our maritime activities affect the ecology and even makes us feel a little bad that this brief peace will be over once lockdown restrictions lift entirely.
'Shark Lockdown' aired on the Discovery Channel August 9 at 10 pm ET.