Man bitten by shark an advocate for the species
by: Chris Latronic
Posted: Jun 16, 2023 / 08:02 PM HST
Updated: Jul 15, 2023 / 08:11 PM HST
HONOLULU (KHON2) — A legend in the shark world, Mike Coots is not only a shark conservationist, but also a shark photographer.
And it all started with a pretty major event in your life for Coots.
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Yeah, I was born and raised on Kauai, loved the ocean from an early age, went surfing with my friends when I was 18, paddled out like any other morning and a tiger shark came up out of nowhere, completely blindsided, grabbed onto both my legs. I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever. It felt almost like I was watching it happen to somebody else, like an out-of-body experience, in a way. I felt an incredible amount of pressure. It grabbed my legs, I punched it a few times in the nose and it let go. Let go. That pressure was released. I got back on my board and started paddling in, and I looked over my shoulder thinking it was a shark finishing me off and it was my leg severed right off.
KHON2.com asked before the incident happened, what was his outlook on sharks?
“It was indifferent. I spent a lot of time in the water almost every day,” said Coots. “And it was I just I knew it was their home. After the attack, there was no animosity. I just knew the wrong place, wrong time.”
And now that spurred you to become a very popular shark photographer as well as an advocate for sharks. KHON2.com asked about his journey up to now.
“Yeah, after the attack I was really curious why I got attacked. I read a lot of shark attack books, found no answers on why,” said Coots.
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“I knew a heck of a lot of what sharks were doing to people like myself,” he further explained. “I had no idea what we were doing as sharks, and I was watching a documentary about sharks, blew me away and the importance of them in the marine ecosystem and why we, you know, we need them for a healthy planet and feel compelled in my unique situation to do something.”
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