Professional shark tagger and conservationist Keith Poe got the rare opportunity to pet a wild shortfin mako shark, a breed that’s known for being aggressive predators, off the coast of southern California.
Poe has been tagging sharks and promoting conservation since the 1990s, working alongside the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Southwest Fisheries Science Center and many more.
This video went viral after being shared to Facebook on January 17. The footage was, however, taken in July of 2019 according to Poe, after he had dumped chum into the water and was looking for mako sharks to tag and gather research in the San Pedro Channel.
Sure enough, a mako shark appeared and Poe began filming. He can be heard saying, “come on girl, come here,” as he is trying to get the shark to come closer to his boat.
Much to Poe’s delight, the shark eventually swam close enough to his boat that he was able to lean over the side railings and pet the animal.
Although the video only shows a few moments of this rare exchange, Poe told Storyful that he was petting and hand-feeding the mako shark for hours. “She likes that,” he can be heard saying at one point after he had given the creature some pats.
“They are thought of as aggressive, but that is simply not true. While hand feeding them they calm down, and you get to see their real personality,” he told Storyful. Credit: Keith Poe via Storyful