Ila France Porcher

Why sharks with Ila France Porcher?

Ila France Porcher is a self taught, published shark ethologist. After university studies in chemistry, physics, math, and biology, she began as a wildlife artist,  recording the intelligent actions of the wild animals she painted.

After moving to Tahiti in 1995 she focused on sharks, due to their intriguing and complex actions. It was clear that their behaviour was very different from the other wild animals she had known, so she began studying them intensively as animals and individuals in an attempt to learn what they were like.

Following the precepts of cognitive ethology, she systematically observed them underwater, and recorded their actions. Over many years she found the first evidence of cognition in sharks, which Arthur A. Myrberg, formerly of the University of Miami, presented at a symposium on cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany in 2003.

Her finding of the gestation period of the Blacktip Reef Shark was published in the journal Marine Biology.

She became a pioneer in the battle to protect sharks when the hundreds of sharks she was studying, along with shark populations on island reefs throughout the

country, were finned. She wrote down their story in the book “The Shark Sessions,” first published as “My Sunset Rendezvous” in 2010.

Since then she observed tiger sharks and lemon sharks underwater in the Bahamas and wrote “The True Nature of Sharks”, a full scale presentation of wild shark behaviour, which was published in 2017.

Her book about sea turtle behaviour, based on observations of four green sea turtles she rehabilitated and released in Tahiti, entitled, Merlin, The Mind of a Sea Turtle, was also published that year.

She was a co-author of “The role of learning in shark behaviour” published in 2009 by Tristan Guttridge in “Fish and Fisheries” and has published a variety of articles on animal behaviour and intelligence over the years. She is a contributor to LiveScience, and X-ray International Dive magazine.

Reiterating her commitment to raising awareness and improving the understanding of the role of sharks in guardian the marine balance, Ila France integrates the SEI’s Board as our Shark Behaviour Specialist Advisor.