I fell in love with sharks in a lagoon in Tahiti, during fifteen years of underwater study of their natural behaviour. When they were finned for the criminal shark fin racket, I wrote down their story in a book called The Shark Sessions. I am still working to save these unexpectedly intelligent and friendly wild animals from extinction, and welcome your interest. Thank you for visiting!
Monday, 16 May 2011
May 3, 2011
Author and shark behavior researcher
visits South Florida
Ila France Porcher, researcher of wild shark behavior, and author of "My Sunset Rendezvous," is in South Florida this month giving a series of informative presentations on the intelligence and social behavior of sharks. Her talk shares the excitement of her unique method of finding things out about sharks, which are often killed for science and studied dead.
From 1995 until 2009 she established never before achieved intimacy with the reef sharks that inhabited the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia.
During this intensive ethological study, she made some intriguing discoveries and had many strange and startling experiences. When the Internet became available, she began to connect with other scientists across the world, comparing her observations, while accumulating evidence about sharks that transcends common beliefs. Her book is the story of this study, set in the framework of life in the islands, and the shocking aftermath.
She and the late Professor Arthur A. Myrberg Jr., formerly of the University of Miami, found evidence of cognition (thinking) in sharks, and the degree to which they are social creatures.
Contacted by the BBC as a result of this work, she contributed her findings on shark cognition and social intelligence to the widely seen documentary “Sharks: Size Matters” for Discovery Channel’s "Shark Week."
In "My Sunset Rendezvous," the author takes you with her into increasing intimacy with each of the reef sharks, where new discoveries are laid out for the finding in the alien beauty of a coral lagoon. Her thrilling true story takes place underwater and the characters are the sharks, each identified by its unique appearance and markings. Learning about these fascinating creatures of the deep has become a memoir of a different kind in this remarkable account.
She hopes that animal lovers who had not considered sharks before, will finally appreciate the true nature of this misunderstood class of animals that is worth protecting from extinction due to overfishing.
New Zealand filmmaker Alan Baddock said of her book: “Your clarity of intent is stunning and beautiful. As a wordsmith, I recognise and acknowledge rare mastery. As a traveller who has picked up and cast aside the best of world literature in a thousand hostelries on half a dozen continents and countless islands, I recognise a book I would share with people I considered friends … Three chapters into a subject I am not especially interested in, I am waiting with a low, gnawing hunger for more. That alone tells me I have found something special.”
Porcher's calendar of events is swiftly filling, so if you would like to have her speak to your group or organization, or interview her, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 561 840 6571.
Notes to the editor:
For further information about Ila France Porcher's work, see her website at www.theplayof life.org. Click on "My Sunset Rendezvous" on the left-hand menu on the first page to hear her radio interview -- orange button at the top of the page -- which shows her abilities as a compelling speaker.
Ila France Porcher is known for her shark activism, her wildlife art, her new discoveries that illustrate the little-known intelligence and gentler nature of sharks, and for her articles on animal intelligence and cognition.
She was a driving force behind the "Year of the Shark" project in 2009, which used the power of internet to generate many new projects for shark protection globally. It resulted in a powerful grass roots movement for shark protection that is still expanding.
She published an article in the scientific journal "Marine Biology" describing the reproductive cycle of C. melanopterus and was commended by the reviewers on finding a way of studying sharks without killing them, which was said to be as important as the discovery of their gestation period.