Back in 1997 a man by the name of Mike Coots lost his leg to a Tiger Shark in Kauai, his hometown. While this may sink many into a deep depression and create a hatred towards sharks, Mike is not like that. Instead, he started surfing with his prosthetic leg after the incident and became a strong crusader for the conservation of sharks.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer. If you have the opportunity to raise awareness about a species on the brink of extinction then you should probably make the most of it and see if you can’t create something good out of something bad,” says Mike.
He is now actively fighting for the prohibition of shark finning – a practice that involves catching sharks, removing their fins and throwing them back into the water to die a slow and painful death spread out over a few days.
Mike isn’t the only one who’s been bitten by a shark in Kauai, so in addition to conservation efforts, he serves as a board member on Bethany Hamilton’s foundation Friends of Bethany. They guide new amputees who lost limbs in traumatic accidents and help them come to terms with their circumstances.