Friday, January 18, 2019

Ramsey: Shit Show in Hawaii!

Oh well.

I'm sure you've seen the news.
Three very large and very rotund female GWS were seen feasting on a dead Sperm Whale floating off Oahu.

This could have been such an inspiring moment.
  • One could have marveled at the exceptional serendipity of witnessing such a rare and wonderful natural event, as per the beautiful and respectful description of who experienced the first mesmerizing encounter.

  • One could have mentioned Michael and Nicole's seminal paper about the life cycle of the NE Pacific GWS population, and speculated whether those females may be actually pregnant (not a given!) and bulking up in the SOFA and beyond like described therein, or whether they may just be very chubby after gorging on whale meat.

  • One could have marveled at the fact that not one but three such large females have made it to Hawaii and speculated about the possible reasons (Climate Change? El NiƱo? Just happenstance? An outbreak of Wanderlust?), and could have tried to identify them based on Nicole's Guadalupe ID Guide (= that Shark with Ramsey is not Deep Blue). 

  • One could have reminisced about this small paper about very large GWS scavenging on whales, and wondered whether the placid disposition of those Sharks may have been an indicator for postprandial torpor.

  • One could have mentioned all the scientific questions that still remain unanswered.

  • One could have even wondered about the wisdom, or lack of, of dive operators throwing in all those unprotected snorkelers atop large scavenging Sharks, and this in open ocean!

  • Hell, one could have gone so far to engage in idle speculation about why those mamas did not chomp on the aforementioned punters! The torpor and/or energy preservation, coupled with a far easier, better smelling and way juicer meal nearby? An already nicely filled belly? No search image for humans as prey? Too much commotion? No attack on alert prey by what is essentially an ambush predator?  Pervaded by the Aloha Spirit?
Not gonna happen, alas.
Like she has obviously intended, the disrespectful self-promoting bimbo and her selfish shit show have sucked all the oxygen out of the room. But thankfully and likely not as intended, the reactions by the public are overwhelmingly negative - and have you seen how now she is squirming and obfuscating trying to justify her feat?
Girl, dozens upon dozens of people have far more experience with Sharks, have done far more for them, and yet never put themselves in the foreground!
But first, watch.


I mean, seriously, what a fucking fiasco!

No don't worry, I'm not gonna unleash.
I'd rather defer to others who are way more intelligent and have spoken up much more clearly and politely than I ever could, to wit Michael Domeier's post about the total hypocrisy of "Ocean" Ramsey. 
Indeed, see any resemblance whatsoever between Ramsey's sanctimonious description and her frantic barging in ahead of everybody else and harassing the Shark in the above video?

You may also want to read and above all, understand this post about the likely consequences of that selfish shit. But Oliphant will do every I can to make it happen again

And the fucking, old and tired, Raising Awareness, yada yada?
Michael and David are absolutely correct: this is nothing but a serial Shark molester harassing a Shark (watch - did anybody say 6 meters? Hmmmm....), and this solely to pose for image$!
But you sure gotta love the praise by the hypocritical King of Shark Porn for the hypocritical Queen of Shark Molesting - legendary shark conservationist my ass! And poor Riley STILL just doesn't get it!

It's same old same old - really hardly worth a mention were it not for those poor naive fans and followers who are being conned by the slick media and all those insufferable platitudes, and continue to admire all those hypocritical media whores and their disrespectful feats.
So, people, THINK - especially you researchers and operators who continue to associate with, and even defend those folks despite of all the evidence!

In diesem Sinne - let's go Shark diving!

Comments Policy: please post your comments here and not on FB. 
FYI this is not a chatroom, comments are being monitored and I reserve the right to publish, or to delete whatever I please - and no, this got nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything to do with Dunning-Kruger!
My blog my rules! :)

PS - Indeed... and this is just sad....
PPS - Martin here!

Monday, January 07, 2019

Individual Shark Profiling? Yes and No!

Click for detail!

We're stuck inside waiting for Mona to unleash.

So there - have you seen this paper?
In essence and if I understand it correctly, it hypothesizes that Shark strikes are not a function of Shark density but that they are instead caused by specific individuals that are so disposed, e.g. possibly particularly bold  - and that as a consequence, the adequate management response would not consist in broadcast culling but that instead, one should surgically remove such problematic animals, much like what is being done with terrestrial problem predators.
And yes that person mentioned at the end would be yours truly.

So let me clarify where I really stand on this.

I agree with the hypothesis, albeit with caveats.
Ages ago, I penned this post about Shark strikes which I believe is still valid. In brief, the causes for Shark strikes are manifold =  whereas some of the interactions are due to predation or happen out of aggression and/or competition and/or self defense,  others are purely retaliatory or not at all driven by intention but simple mistakes (= NOT mistaken identity which is completely something else and  controversial) - and for these latter two categories, Eric's considerations probably would not apply. 
And anyway, for the large majority of cases, determining the specific intention of specific bites is obviously impossible and possibly also ultimately irrelevant.

But of course we can always speculate, see here.
And as somebody who has named, personally knows and spends an inordinate amount of time with individual Sharks and can thus observe their behavior, I can unequivocally confirm that they display great individual behavioral variability - and this very much including the propensity to bite!
In fact, among our Bull Sharks there is e.g. one particularly haughty lady who does not like to be touched and will always retaliate by trying to bite us when we do so; or there is another one, a small male, who despite of many years of hand feeding, appears just simply too stupid to understand the proper etiquette and always comes in too low and too fast, and is thus a constant safety risk to the feeders. Same-same for a specific Gray Reefie who has repeatedly bitten the hands of our feeders - and thank you for bodyguards and especially, for steel gloves!

And then there is XYZ (name withheld).
This is a very large female Bull Shark who can only be described as being sinister and dangerous, this insofar as she is extremely assertive, will frequently approach us closely and not in what we perceive as a friendly way, and needs to be fended away and dominated.
And one day, and I believe because she was cranky for having lost a dominance confrontation with another big female, she has already bitten one of our staff who was incidentally not in the slightest inconveniencing her; this in what I personally interpret as Ɯbersprungverhalten or displacement behavior, or maybe simply the venting of accumulated aggression. Again, we will obviously never really know - but she is certainly an animal of concern.

And when it comes to those predatory strikes.
They are fundamentally different from the examples above as IMO predation = feeding got nothing to do with aggression and/or boldness, and why would it.
But I absolutely believe that some Sharks will sometimes target and consume a human; and I also absolutely believe that given what we know about their learning capabilities, ontogenetic dietary shifts and their individual behavioral variability, we can also absolutely not exclude that this or that individual may develop an individual propensity (or reduced aversion) for targeting humans, which is what Eric appears to postulate.
Yes this is obviously speculative and so far unproven (and likely untestable) - but it is I believe at least plausible - and as long as it is, and as long as it not actually disproven, it is also not false! 

And remember this shit
It mentions, and even depicts that ominous OWT who has been alleged to have bitten no less than three people - and this by so-called Shark experts in a so-called peer-reviewed scientific paper !

Anyway, back to Eric's paper.
Yes in theory, there could absolutely be individual Sharks with as propensity to bite humans; and yes in theory, selectively eliminating those would absolutely be preferable to indiscriminate culling!
So I absolutely support it as a theoretical approach to mitigating Shark strikes! 

And in practice?
Unfortunately, there prospects for success look totally unrealistic.
In terrestrial habitats, identifying, monitoring and managing individual animals is comparatively easy - but doing so in the ocean is obviously a completely different matter as the territory is immense, there are thousands of Sharks leading a life that is essentially cryptic as for human observers, everything happens "out of sight" - and thus, identifying, monitoring and then eliminating the individual perpetrators as suggested would generally speaking be extremely expensive and logistically extremely onerous if not outright impossible.
With that in mind, the suggested list of measures aimed at identifying problem individuals, albeit certainly erudite, is more pie in the sky than a viable recipe for success. Or should we e.g. really try and catch, tag and tissue sample every single large predatory Shark in Australia - and then try and catch a single individual perpetrator after a strike?

And, when, exactly, would one effect the removal.
After a first bite? After two or even more? Lethal bites or not? Or would one remove the Shark preemptively already upon identifying a problem in behavior, or e.g. undesired levels of testosterone or cortisol?
And before the removal, whatever the latter means, one should obviously first try other approaches akin to e.g.the hazing and/or other deterrents and/or protections and barriers one would be using in terrestrial situations - correct?
Detail detail!

But of course there could be exceptions.
Specific circumstances obviously vary, and there could be individual, albeit probably rare conditions favoring Eric's approach.

The situation with our above-mentioned XYZ could e.g. escalate to the point whereby despite of our best efforts in trying to deter and/or train her, we would have to come to the conclusion that she is becoming too much of a safety hazard. 
Then, we could be forced to choose between either closing down our Shark viewing operation or selectively removing her.

Or take e.g. Cocos.
Remember that Tiger and then, this subsequent event?
Yes this is completely speculative - but considering how well the good people of GSD member Undersea Hunter Group know their Sharks: what if they were able to determine that it was the same, individually known individual? 
If so and considering the risk of further attacks vs the tourism income: could this maybe escalate to the point where the park authority would have to make a decision?

And finally, Reunion Island.
There, the comparatively small territory and likely comparatively small number of potentially dangerous Sharks that could thus be potentially identified individually may well warrant trialing Eric's approach - this particularly in view of the ever-persistent calls for more Shark culls!
Or not?

But again, these are rare exceptions.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, Eric's suggestions, albeit intellectually interesting, are just not sufficiently practicable for them to constitute a viable alternative strategy.

And finally, what about this beauty?
I can only note that Neff the token Shark attack apologist remains as predictably irritating as always, the more as his arguments are little more than straw men.
Yes the hypothesis by Victor Coppleson of there being "Rogue Sharks" has not been proven - but a) as per above, the fact that something has not been proven does not necessarily mean it is false, either and b) Eric expressly differentiates his hypothesis from it. 
Yes as per above Eric's hypothesis does not apply to all Shark bites - but that does not invalidate it a priori!
Yes often when asked, the public does not support Shark culls - but a) they continue to happen and b) more importantly, Eric does not at all advocate them but on the contrary, he obviously sees his approach as an alternative to them!

Anyway, all very interesting indeed.
And in the meantime, Mona has come and gone. And we are doing just fine thank you.

Let's go Shark diving!

PS - Bingo...

Saturday, January 05, 2019

And here She is!

I've just learned something new, to wit

Pretty awesome isn't it.
Anyway, this is the actual situation - and if you click on the line you also get a forecast, and you can also zoom in and out!
The outlook here looks rather grim, and opinions about what is going to happen next differ - but my gut tells me that there will be a landfall, and that we down here will be affected.

So there - you know what to do!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Tropical Cyclone Mona!

Source - click for detail.

This is not good.
Rather grim forecasts here, here and here, warnings here.

You know what to do.
Stay safe, and best of luck everybody!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Elusive White Sharks - Paper!

Still one of the very best: iconic image by Terry Goss - click for detail. Source.

Great stuff!

If you're into GWS, this is a must read.
Great job by Charlie in getting feedback from the quasi-totality of GWS researchers, which sure makes for an interesting assortment of names; great questions that  obviously also pertain, mutatis mutandis, to other Shark species;  and last but not least, great bibliography for further reading!
So well done folks, and thank you!

AND another One!

Source - click for detail!

Happy New Year and all!

Well, it sure looks like our new year will start with a bang!
Say hello to tropical disturbance TD04F that is very likely to develop into a much more pesky, and very wet Cyclone by the weekend - and the bloody SoPac Convection Zone may well spawn a few more before the current monsoonal phase is over!

Anyway, you know what to do.
Good luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Let the Dance begin!

Beware - click for detail!

Yes this would be a bloody Cat 1.
Obviously, at this stage it's only a forecast - but the different pages are all showing it, so keep an eye on this and this page, and obviously on the relevant warning page of the FMS.
This is the cyclone outlook for this season.

You know what to do!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ronda Rousey - Mental Midgetry?

Shark conservation messaging, or whatever, by fucking Shark GENIUS PdG - source.

And I cite,
It is a good, well constructed show with professional and scientific insight 
That was good old Riley who STILL desperately wants to be somebody in Sharks, or whatever, and STILL just does not get it and STILL publicly pals with human garbage.
Anyway, along with many reputable presenters, experts and shooters, we did obviously turn it down as we will categorically not host any shoot for Shark Week as long as they continue to air those horrible exploitative programs, and showcase those pathetic self promoting media whores and their pathetic feats.

But I was wrong. It is so much worse than that.

See what I mean?
No blame goes to poor naive Rousey and husband  who have been obviously conned into believing that any of that is in any way an accomplishment. 
But seeing how all that fabricated gratuitous and misleading hype by those fucking self important morons is portraying sweet old Blunt, Gillette, Crook and Granma as lethal killer machines really gets my blood boiling. How dare they!
And no you fucking hypocrite: it is not epic, it is fucking pathetic!

And the bloody operator?
Need I really point out the idiocy of publicly allowing a total beginner to feed your Sharks on your dive - and of allowing another total amateur and untrained ignoramus to pose as a feeding expert? 
Is this maybe the reason why Aqua Trek have shortly thereafter fired Brandon their fucking GENIUS Shark whisperer, and this apparently with cause? Hardly - but here's to that, and good riddance; and here's to the guys down the road using this as an opportunity for some fucking reflection, and to them and others (...) stopping to enable all those revolting Shark porn media that are ultimately harming Fiji's reputation as a Shark ecotourism destination!

Like an old broken record, let me repeat - over and over and over again.
Here are my own questions to fellow Shark diving operators and conservationists.
  • Are we gonna continue to pretend this (read!) is not happening?
  • Are we gonna continue to watch that shit?
  • Are we the operators gonna continue to enable it?
  • Are we gonna continue to give our business to operators who do?
  • Are we gonna continue to admire and to associate with those people?
Questions questions!

PS - Comments: please post them here & not on Facebook. Thanks!

Scavenging Tiger Sharks!


That's a whole lotta Tiger Sharks!

I've missed this when it came out - but better late than never.
Story here - enjoy!