WHAT is the first word that comes to mind when you hear the word SHARK?
Fear? Intrigue? Respect?
In 2011, Lisa Mondy came off her wakeboard across the Bay just off Jimmy’s Beach.
As she swam back to the board, a 4 metre Great White came straight up from the bottom.
It hit her hard, wrapping its huge jaws around her arm and head.
Launching out of the water with Lisa in it’s mouth, the Shark then took her underwater and released her.
Lisa’s friends raced to help knowing she was in deep trouble.
They pulled her from the water and she was rushed via Westpac Helicopter to the John Hunter hospital.
The incident left Lisa with major lacerations to her face and took the brachial artery out of her arm, much of the muscle and veins, as well as severing three of the four major nerves in her arm.
The injury was also extremely close to the main artery in Lisa’s neck.
Altogether Lisa lost approx 60 percent of her body’s blood,as close to death as anyone can be.
Ms Mondy required 16 hours of surgery and 226 stitches to close the wounds on her arm, neck and face.
Since the incident she has thought a lot about that shark and the public response to what had happened.
“People were fascinated, the media went nuts, in fact the media’s frenzy became more scary than meeting that Great White face to face,” Lisa Mondy told News Of The Area.
“Sharks play a special part in the ecosystem of our oceans and we are losing them at a rapid rate,” Ms Mondy said.
“Fear Mongering contributes to our negative attitude towards sharks and feeds our desire to maintain deadly shark mitigation strategies.”
Added to this,overfishing and shark finning practices are all contributing to the massive decline in shark numbers.
The truth is that incidents with sharks are so rare, and yet are magnified by our cultivated fear of them.
Stories like Lisa’s make the headlines and yet ironically, most people who are shark bite survivors become advocates for them, having a deep respect and harbouring no hard feelings.
Did you know that there are more people killed in Australia by horseriding and snake bites then there are killed by sharks.
75 million sharks are killed every year in the world’s oceans.
“Culling sharks amounts to punishing a species for a random and more than likely a mistaken act of nature,” Lisa Mondy said.
Targeting a weak and vunerable species takes us past the boundaries of common sense.
It is an emotional backlash rather than a scientific response and the results are indiscriminate as they target other marine life as well.
The question Lisa is most often asked is why does she want to save the creature that almost killed her?
Her reply is simple, “I have always loved sharks and I have spent a lot of time explaining to people that sharks are misunderstood and deserve our respect.”
“I’ve watched them swimming peacefully in the wild while snorkelling and from boats and now I am among the very few who have been that close to a Great White Shark and walked away.”
Her encounter has given her the means to reach out to more people to educate them about Shark Conservation.
“With millions of sharks being killed every year they have more reasons to be scared of us than we have of them,” Lisa Mondy said.
Lisa Mondy is an enthusiastic motivational speaker sharing from her own personal experience with the Great white, and overcoming adversity, as well as speaking as an advocate on Shark Conservation.
You can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jewell DRURY