Spoilers ahead for the « Cocaine Sharks » special of Shark Week 2023 on Discovery.
Discovery is celebrating the 35th anniversary of Shark Week in the 2023 TV schedule with everything from a harrowing great white encounter that felt straight out of a film to some cameos from the orcas who are decimating the shark population in South Africa. « Cocaine Sharks » involved an investigation into the reports of cocaine bales being dumped into shark-infested waters off of Florida, which involved dropping some « shark cocaine » into the ocean. Shark behaviorist Tom « The Blowfish » Hird was down in the water for the special, and he opened up to CinemaBlend about the experiment and experience.
A project called « Cocaine Sharks » airing just months after the Cocaine Bear movie released might sound like a horror film set in the ocean, but the Shark Week special combined a fun approach to a bizarre topic with serious scientific issues. Driven by reports of sharks being fueled by cocaine dumped in the waters off of Florida, Tom Hird went down to the Keys to try and figure out what actually happens when sharks interact with that drug. With no shortage of shark species in those waters and experiments never done before, there was plenty of action to fill the hour after the team created their shark version of cocaine.
Naturally, a Shark Week team couldn’t very well gather thousands of pounds of real cocaine and dump them into the ocean to test a hypothesis, so they had to figure out something that could serve the same purpose to sharks without upsetting the ecosystem or doing any harm to people and animals. The end result was a substance made out of highly concentrated fish powder that was determined to be the closest stimulus to cocaine, which could be packaged up into bales and bait bombs for testing on sharks.
The shark cocaine certainly affected them, as they ranged from erratic to agitated to downright feisty, with some even going into full hunt mode after being exposed despite no prey present. The result was Tom Hird in some tricky situations underwater surrounded by frenzied sharks, including a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a hammerhead. When I spoke with the shark behaviorist during the recent Shark Week press junket, I asked how aware he was of his surroundings while underwater and whether there were any surprises when he reviewed the footage, and he shared:
Plenty of different kinds of sharks showed up during the different stages of the « Cocaine Sharks » experiment, including lemon sharks, hammerheads, bonnetheads, and even some tigers. Tom Hird was right in the middle of these shark cocaine-fueled creatures, and I can confidently say that I was perfectly happy to be watching from the comfort of my couch instead of by his side in the Florida waters! The Blowfish continued:
Tom Hird very clearly had fun with the « Cocaine Sharks » experience, and seemed down to expand the experiment in the future by the end of the special. Given that Shark Week 2023 (hosted by Aquaman star Jason Momoa) was trying something new with this special, I asked Tom Hird what he hoped that viewers would take away from « Cocaine Sharks » after it aired. He explained:
While the special was fun and even lighthearted in the approach to figuring out truth from rumor about the stories of cocaine-fueled sharks in the Florida Keys, it also has an important message: what goes in the water not only affects the creatures that live there, but will eventually affect humans as well. Shark cocaine isn’t going to cause people any trouble since it’s just fish powder, but that’s not going to be the case with everything dumped in the ocean.
Tom Hird also shared that there’s « a phenomenal amount of caffeine in the oceans, » and joked that it’s probably the fault of « us Brits just drinking tea, to be fair. » As an American chatting with the Brit, I had to mention the Boston Tea Party, to which The Blowfish responded:
Whether Discovery goes back to the stories of cocaine sharks in the future remains to be seen. Shark Week often revisits past investigations and experiments to dig a little deeper, and I wouldn’t be shocked if this situation down in Florida is at the center of another special or two down the road.
The Shark Week action continues on Thursday, July 27 on Discovery, with « Jaws in the Shallows » at 8 p.m. ET, « Monster Mako: Fresh Blood » with Dr. Austin Gallagher (whose « Belly of the Beast » got Shark Week 2023 off to an exciting start) at 9 p.m., and « Shark vs Snake: Battle of the Bites » at 10 p.m. You can also find Shark Week specials streaming with a Max subscription.
Le texte ci-dessus est une traduction automatique. Source : https://www.cinemablend.com/interviews/shark-week-replicated-drug-drops-florida-waters-cocaine-sharks-tom-the-blowfish-hird?rand=20654