The smoothtooth blacktip shark (Carcharhinus leiodon) was first introduced to the scientific world after a specimen was brought from Yemen in 1902 by naturalist Wilhelm Hein and held by the Vienna Museum. It wasn’t actually noticed until 1985 when it was identified as the first and only known specimen of smoothtooth blacktip shark. Some suspected it might be extinct.
In 2008, during a Shark Conservation Society research expedition to Kuwait’s fish market Shark Specialist found amongst the many species of whaler shark one which looked similar but different. Later analysis revealed that this was a smoothtooth blacktip, the first new individual seen by scientists in over a century. Surveys of fish markets in the region later have surfaced 47 additional smoothtooth blacktip sharks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the smoothtooth blacktip species is in robust health, but it definitely means they are in better shape than extinction.
Sharks in general are under great pressure from commercial fishing and habitat destruction. Awareness and protection is needed from the general public.