Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles NARRATOR: South Africa's Western Cape is notoriously dangerous. Almost one in four of all fatal great white attacks happen here. In other parts of the world, the most dangerous time to enter the water is at dawn or dusk, the times when white sharks typically hunt. But these waters are different. Investigators have identified that the majority of the attacks on the Western Cape take place during the day. This surprising anomaly could be the key to solving the mystery behind the attacks. Mike Barron is a marine biologist living in Cape Town. For the past two years, he's been studying the oceanic ecosystems of the Western Cape. Mike believes part of the answer lies in an incredible aspect of South Africa's marine ecology. MIKE BARRON: So today, we're going to drop down and I'm going to monitor one of my favorite places to dive. It's a really amazing, magical place. [music playing] NARRATOR: These are South Africa's kelp forests. Each strand of this giant seaweed measures up to 40 feet tall and grows in dense clusters stretching over 600 miles, Creating a vast, underwater wonderland. MIKE BARRON: All the different complexities of life down there, and it's a fantastic area to dive and research. NARRATOR: The kelp forests are home to all manner of oceanic life. But there is one species that lives here of particular significance when it comes to sharks, cape fur seals. MIKE BARRON: White sharks are often seen patrolling the edges of kelp forests looking for the cape fur seal. NARRATOR: Until recently, it was believed that great whites patrolled the edges of the kelp forests at dawn and dusk, but rarely ventured in. The sun's low position in the sky was thought to help them pick out the silhouettes of unsuspecting seals as they exited the forest. But in 2019, a study emerged that turned traditional thinking about great whites' hunting patterns on its head. MIKE BARRON: In 2019, researchers were conducting a study on great white sharks. They attached some cameras to the dorsal fins, and the footage that came back was very unusual. That actually found that these sharks were moving into quite dense forest areas, and even hunting seals, which previously we thought was not happening at all. NARRATOR: And most importantly, the sharks were seen to be hunting during the day, not just at dawn and dusk. MIKE BARRON: This new revelation in shark research means that all the way through today, wherever there's kelp, there's potentially white sharks cruising around, looking for their seal. NARRATOR: South Africa is one of a few countries in the world that has natural kelp forests right on its coast. MIKE BARRON: Kelp grows all along the beaches here in the Western Cape, right from the intertidal zone and very highly populated beaches as well. There's lots of people swimming, surfing, and diving in the forests right along the coast. NARRATOR: This means that every day at any time, the sharks are patrolling the coastline of the Western Cape, looking for seals, in the exact same waters used by people.