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San Diego 10-year-old using drone to spread shark awareness

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — There’s no better way to observe Shark Awareness Day than from the viewpoint of one San Diego 10-year-old.

On Wednesday, Elijah Franklin flew his drone above the shores of Del Mar in search of great white sharks. Several times a week, you’ll find him flying his drone around the reefs, fueling his passion for sharks.

Since the start of June, he said he’s seen a great white shark each time he’s visited the beach.

“It’s just really cool that there’s just this animal that lives, not on land that you can’t see from shore, but with the drone, when you get it up there, you can really see how many there actually are, and that they’re not all far out at sea,” said Elijah.

Elijah doesn’t just love looking at sharks from the view of his drone, he said he wants to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the animals. While many people may fear sharks, Elijah said their importance to the ecosystem is often overlooked.

“It’s like really important to protect sharks because they actually store carbon air pollution inside their bodies, and help keep the air clean … that’s one reason why it’s really important to protect them,” said Elijah.

Elijah’s father, Josh, said his son’s love for filming sharks started last summer when they would go to La Jolla Shores and Elijah would swim with leopard sharks.

“And he had a GoPro and he would take footage of the leopard sharks underwater and he got really interested in that. And then he turned 10 in December and we couldn’t have a real party for him because of the pandemic and we wanted to give him a special gift to try to make up for that. So we thought maybe a drone would be a good idea, and he really just fell in love with it,” said Josh Franklin.

Despite being endangered, Elijah said he thinks sharks are making a comeback in the wild since they are protected in California waters. Perfect for him, as he added that he wants to become a marine biologist when he gets older.