When you look at the whole continent of South America, 101 attacks and 23 fatalities have occurred since 1931 [source: ISAF]. But look closer, and you'll see that 89 of those attacks and 21 of those fatalities have occurred just in Brazil [source: ISAF]. What's bringing all these sharks to Brazil? A tiny beach town named Recife, which has had some unfortunate luck in attracting sharks to its coastline.
The trouble started in the 1980s, when Porto Suape was constructed to the south of Recife. The construction sealed off two freshwater estuaries, which had served as the birthing waters for many bull sharks. When the estuaries were closed, the sharks went to the next estuary, which happens to discharge right into Recife's waters. A nearby channel used by surfers became these sharks' new feeding grounds. The sharks may have been driven even closer to Recife's shore by a slaughterhouse, which was disposing of blood in nearby tributaries.
Since these events, Recife's 12.5-mile (20-kilometer) coastline has become an extremely dangerous place, with a higher proportion of attacks resulting in death. One in three shark attacks that occur in Recife are fatal [source: Kingstone].
Going to visit Mickey Mouse any time soon? You might want to stick closer to him than to the nearby beaches -- find out why on the next page.