Sighting of a blow. Can you see Sydney in the background?
I only managed to catch the whale on its way back down.
And as it waved goodbye.I wish I could say I took this picture of a humpback. Alas, it's from HERE.
We're very serious about whale conservation in Australia and rightly so.
But did you know that many sharks are also protected in Australia and around the world?
How on earth did a top predator of the ocean become an endangered species requiring protection? If you have some time, a strong stomach, and are interested in finding out, CLICK HERE for the Pew Report.
This scary pic from HERE. Quite a few species are listed as threatened including everyone's favourite set of jaws.
There was sadly another fatal shark attack in WA, just 11 days ago [which is probably why I've been thinking about today's topic]. In these situations, a hunt is usually called to find the rogue animal. In this case, almost immediately, the protected species status of the great white came into question. There was some concern that tourists might be too afraid to go to the beach.
Informal polls and comments on news reports, facebook and blogs however, seem to indicate that most people would like to see the great white's protected status maintained.
Check out this timeline of shark attacks in Australian waters over the last decade.
While the number of attacks appear to have increased of late, the average fatality in Australia over the last 50 years, has been less than 1 human per year.
I think I may have more chance of being killed stepping out onto a pedestrian crossing on Darling Street.
By comparison, guess how many sharks get killed in a year? According to the Pew Report above, about 73 million. I don't even know how you can count a number like that.
I get disturbed when I read this sort of stuff. There's a lot of noise in my head and I find it difficult to organize it into coherent sentences. It took me the better part of an hour to word the 3 questions below and I expect my thoughts on the subject will be contentious and unpopular. But here goes anyway.
Should maintaining our comfort, safety and way of life always take precedent over that of animals, even endangered ones? [I don't think so.]
Do you think we discriminate when it comes to [protecting] animals and are partial to saving cute ones? [I do.]
Do you think it does any good to hunt down and kill an animal that has killed a human? [I don't, unless it can be proven that the animal's action was pre-meditated.]
What are YOUR thoughts? And do you have other questions yourself?
2 helpful reads before you next get in the water.
+ 10 myths about sharks by Valerie Taylor.
2. TRUE: Sharks are attracted to swimming dogs
+ 13 tips for avoiding a shark attack.
Avoid swimming or surfing at dawn, dusk or night. These are typically the feeding times for a lot of sharks.
And look what I found when I googled "are cute animals better protected than ugly dangerous ones"
+ THIS ARTICLE.
He set out to describe what attributes make animals attractive to humans. The successful candidate will exhibit:
- Usefulness (providing humans with food, clothing or medicine);
- Human-like traits, such as having a high forehead and expressive eyes and being a mammal, or at least a vertebrate;
- Be large and fierce. For some reason we like dangerous animals, and are fascinated with their weapons, from teeth to horns. (Watch any kid in the dinosaur gallery.) Small thinks this may explain the fact that tigers are the kings of global conservation efforts;
- It must live above ground, preferably in a family setting showing off the mother with adorable cubs or kittens (one Toronto conservationist calls such animals “the cuddlies”);
- It should not smell bad;
- It helps to be warm-blooded;
- Bright colours also help while being covered with scales, or a slimy skin, is bad;
- Attractive animals eat “clean” food. We don’t like scavengers and carrion-pickers;
- Traits that are unhealthy in humans should be avoided. We have little urge to conserve animals with warts, bow legs, wrinkles (except for elephants), irregular teeth or a habit of drooling.
For what it's worth, my instructions to the Other Half, if I should get attacked or killed by a wild animal, is to let it be. He's left the same instructions with me. [We like being prepared for 1-in-a-squillion chance events.]
The person that runs me over at a pedestrian crossing however, won't get away with it that easily.
By the way, I. am. not. anthropomorphic. or. a. bleeding. heart. [Though I do like sniffing trees.] And it's okay if you're now thinking I'm simplistic, unrealistic and delusional. I already know that.
Have a good day! :) X