Chatham Shark Center to Display Bitten Paddleboard

CHATHAM – An artifact from the summer beach season on the Outer Cape will be on display this fall at the Chatham Shark Center.

Cleveland Bigelow has donated his standup paddleboard which was bitten by a great white shark off Wellfleet’s Marconi Beach last month to generate awareness.

The board will be on display before being turned into a more permanent exhibit over the winter, according to Shark Center Education Director Marianne Long.

“It’ll be a great way for us to showcase shark safety tips and advice that has been put together by the shark working group which the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is a part of,” Long said.

The future display will also show how the scientists took measurements of the teeth marks to determine the size of the shark.

Long said the incident, which received national attention, brought a lot of awareness to the presence of sharks in the region and moved the conversation forward about what people should be thinking about when using local waters for recreational activities.

“Having an exhibit to showcase this will also get people having that conversation and really seeing that firsthand how we do have white sharks off our coast and whenever we go in the water we have to be aware of our surroundings,” she said.

Long said the center has had an incredible summer with more than 12,000 visitors.

“That’s 12,000 people who understand why white sharks are important in our ecosystem – 12,000 people who better understand what’s going on in the research efforts and how that research helps in shark conservation,” she said. “And 12,000 people who are really seeing and understanding that we have white sharks off our coastline and they are hearing first hand some of those safety tips that we are able to provide to them.”

The center features exhibits about shark biology and that explain research efforts, including the role of the spotter pilot.

“We also have a virtual reality exhibit to show people how ecotourism allows people to have peaceful encounters with sharks and see them up close,” Long said.

There are also hands-on activities for youth education, including a fossil bin where children can find their own shark teeth to take home.

The center is open on weekends through mid-October.


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