History’s “Shark Wranglers” goes after the Great White … to save it

Here’s a job that even the Deadliest Catch guys likely wouldn’t go near. History’s new series Shark Wranglers, premiering Sunday, July 1 at 10pm, documents noted ocean explorer and elite fisherman Chris Fischer on what the show’s release describes as “the most ambitious shark expedition in history.” Fischer and his crew travel to the waters off South Africa, home to giant great whites, with the intent of catching and tagging at least 50 sharks within 40 days.

In achieving their goal, Fischer and his team track each great white, maneuver them onto the cradle of their 126-foot boat in tumultuous waters, then risk life and limb jumping into the water with the shark so that each one can be tagged by hand and studied. They’re the only team of shark taggers that employs this risky hands-on approach, but by doing so, they attach transmitters that can deliver data back to the scientists for years rather than just months. The studies undertaken by Fischer and his crew include one for the prospective development of an antibiotic against secondary infection from shark bites.

As beneficial for this perfectly evolved species as Fischer’s crew’s intent is, it’s the risk and fear of these great and most dangerous of fish that makes Shark Wranglers such compelling viewing. Seeing anyone grapple with a great white even momentarily carries a significant thrill, even from your living room. But as exciting as it might be, whatever data Fischer and his shark wranglers collect through their efforts — provided they survive, of course — could yield some of the most intriguing shark programming yet.