Cue “Jaws” music…

Hey, kids–

OMG it’s “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. And good gracious, there are some seriously nasty stories revealed. That is, seriously grim, macabre, and tragic. So I’ve been sort of thinking about sharks, and interestingly, so have other people.

For example, Anderson Cooper went to South Africa to check out this dude who dives with sharks WITHOUT A CAGE. WTF? The dude has decided to “get to know” sharks better, and find out more about them. Well, okay, that sounds like a decent wildlife biologist thing to do (except the dude isn’t a wildlife biologist), but please remember that sharks are PREDATORS. That’s what they do, that’s what they do best. Remember the guy who lived with grizzlies? Yeah, that didn’t turn out so well, either.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire people who go out and try to figure out how the wild things are so we can figure out as another species how to live with them and respect them. I don’t think hanging out in shark-infested waters without a cage and trying to play with sharks is a good idea, just like I thought living in the midst of a bunch of grizzlies wasn’t a good idea, either.

Outside Magazine has a recent article on those sharks off the coast of South Africa, and how shark attacks are up because people are trying to get tourists to go on shark tours. How do they do it? Throwing lots of chum (blood and fish) into the water to lure them. Maybe not the best idea, as this article demonstrates (and perhaps Anderson Cooper should take note).

And in a related vein, how about this Outside Mag piece on an orca attack on its trainer (she died)? Or this piece they did, “Blood in the Water,” about other confined orca attacks?

The point is, predators are predators. Humans are also predators, and many of us remain that way in spite of all the human-made laws and alleged effects of “civilization.” What happens when you mess with non-human predators that don’t have “civilizing” influences? Well…


Happy (I guess) “Shark Week” and happy Friday!

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