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The Shark Man


Dr Riley Elliot ‘Shark Man’ has been a nature kid from the word go and with parents who guided him to follow his passion, coupled with hard work and determination. His keen interest in the natural world took him to over 60 countries to dive, surf and experience culture.

Riley holds a Bachelor of Science Honours in Zoology, a Master’s in Marine Science, and has applied academic principles from university, with real world field experience, to excel in the shark research environment. With unbelievable stories such as a 13 ft. Great White shark jumping into his research vessel, to freediving cageless with almost every dangerous species of shark in the world, Riley found his niche. Fear to fascination became his life motto and the ‘Shark Man’ was born.

Dr Riley Elliott obtained his PHD in Marine Science in 2020, having described the behaviour and migration patterns of blue sharks in the south Pacific. Using satellite tags his work revealed remarkable journeys and ecosystem services provided by the most numerous yet exploited shark species on earth. Riley communicated his findings to the public through mainstream media which contributed to a ban on shark finning in New Zealand.

This cemented in Riley a recipe for conservation success, whereby stimulating visual imagery in modern media, laced with science, can be a powerful ally to those without a voice. In applying this recipe, Riley has contributed to the end of the Western Australia shark cull, stimulated research on sharks across the globe, created, produced and presented some of Shark Week’s highest rating shows and most recently, encouraged a fleet of budding marine ambassadors to undertake the most unique television challenge in history - Shark Academy.

He speaks to school kids, corporates and mainstream media around the world, inspiring people to follow their passion whilst making the world a better place. Ultimately Riley is still a nature kid at heart, with a passion to encourage humanity to emotionally re-engage with nature by getting out there and interacting with it.

A big thank you from us for your attendance at our annual Dive Festival and the highly engaging and informative talk you gave on both your studies into NZ’s Blue Sharks and the situation of the general health of shark populations. Not all that attended were divers with many being just people from our area interested in what you had to say. The feedback we received showed us that your subjects are of great interest to many and people found what you had to say informative and inspiring. You certainly held the audience with your presentation style. And we guess this showed in the successful sale of your newly released book after your talk. Dive Zone Whitianga Dive Festival

Riley goes well beyond just using the topic of sharks alone for effect. His passion and knowledge of these animals and their environments comes through with his effective and engaging style of presentation pulling the audience into his world. He is a natural character willing to share his knowledge and understanding of sharks with his great sense of humor and he is just as comfortable entertaining a crowd and answering questions as he is in delivering a serious scientific paper.

Bloom Living - Freehold Retirement Living

Riley Elliot gave a presentation at our museum as part of the Shark Whisperers program. The public talk was very well attended, proving Riley’s popularity. He was an incredibly natural, effective and passionate speaker. He engaged a diverse public audience on a very challenging issue with sincere energy and personality.

Voyager NZ Maritime Museum
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