Marisa Butler, a 21-year-old Miss USA contestant representing the state of Maine, has an unusual hobby. The beauty queen catches and wrangles sharks, dragging them ashore with her bare hands—but the reason why will warm your heart.
“Everyone wants to save cute seals or puppies, because they are so cute and cuddly,” said Butler. “They don’t realize that sharks are important to save.”
Butler volunteers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to help monitor and tag sharks. She has apparently tagged around 30 sharks just this year, all of which have been released back into the ocean.
According to The Daily Mail, Butler only started fishing in 2014. It was then that she realized the importance of shark conservancy.
Butler works with a team of shark wranglers in Massachusetts and Florida, in order to catch and tag sharks for the conservation program.
The sharks can weigh up to 230 lbs, but that doesn’t stop the crown-winner.
The team uses bait to real in the sharks, which are then dragged up onto the beach. Their dorsal fin is then tagged, and the aquatic beasts are released.
The tag helps NOAA track shark migratory patterns.
“Any shark can be dangerous,” Butler admitted. “But you learn to read their body language.”
She said she’s been slapped in the face by a shark tail, and gets frequent shark burn rashes from their harsh skin.
Check out the slideshow above to see her impressive shark-wrangling skills.