Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Sharxpert on the Block!

Sea Turtle? Bollocks! Source.

Dr. Daniel Bucher is making sharky statements.

Who is this guy thinks me and goes rummaging.
I eventually found this - and judging from the list of publications, there's really nothing that would qualify him for the moniker of Shark expert.

And yet I find myself agreeing with much of what he says.
Indeed a tiny minority of Sharks have been amply documented to sometimes attack and also consume people - and GWS, Tigers and Bulls are certainly among the perpetrators. 

And the Whalers = Carcharhinids? 
Some like the Blue and the OWTs yes, but the very large majority of them most likely not - e.g., I've personally witnessed several times how Grey Reefies and Silvertips completely ignore  (lots of fresh) human blood which is in stark contrast to their behavior when stimulated with Fish blood.

Remember this post (if not: read it!), and I cite.
Which brings me straight over to the whitewashing.

Yes we love Sharks, yes Sharks are much maligned and we need to work at improving their reputation: but the fact is that large predatory Sharks are dangerous and that they need to be treated with respect and with circumspection!
That makes them neither bad, nor good – that just makes them large predatory Sharks! I’ve said it beforewe need to remain fact based and refrain from creating our own unhelpful stereotypes!
And here's another citation!
I’ve said it before, any explanations for the causes of Shark attacks are ultimately nothing but hypotheses that may, or may not be plausible but will forever remain untested and thus, scientifically unproven – for obvious reasons!

Plus, really, who cares!
By any metrics, Shark attacks are freak events, an utter nothingness when compared to the deluge of tragedies afflicting humankind – so can we all please stop hyperventilating?
Yes the stupid stereotypes, the voyeuristic trolls and the public’s fascination with Shark attacks are a reliable source of income for the tabloids and Discovery Channel and thus particularly irritating – but let’s face it, that’s just how people are.

What however really frustrates me is that it is us, the Shark conservationists, who ultimately provide a platform for the paparazzi like Harris and Drudown, and the stupid Con-troversies!

As Drudown correctly remarks, there is nothing mutually exclusive about conservation and the truth!
Like many of their terrestrial counterparts, some species of Shark sometimes feed on humans despite the fact that people are not their primary prey - and guess what: it’s totally OK!
It makes them neither Bad nor Good, they are just being predators!

So why our denial, our massaging of numbers, our politically correct lingo, our constant belittling of the risks, our pseudoscience and stereotypes, our unhelpful demonizing of the fishermen? Does anybody really believe that it is helpful?
Do Lion conservationists resort to lying and disinformation when trying to protect Lions?

Thing is, the truth is on our side anyway!
Far from being the stalking, ever-hungry killers, even the biggest predatory Sharks appear to be unendingly tolerant of aquatic recreationists in general and divers in particular. As somebody who has logged thousands of cage-less baited dives with some of the most maligned species, I fully concur with Jimmy when he says that they are nothing but smart, graceful, interesting and COOL – and frustratingly shy on top of that!
And let me add that I never, ever had the feeling that they were sizing me up as a potential meal, ever!

Having said this, one must however never forget that they are at the same time incredibly powerful and potentially lethal!
Shark attacks will continue to occur as long as people will continue to frequent the Oceans. Most will be hit-and-run strikes by small piscivorous Sharks and some, accidents like the tragic death of Markus Groh – and a tiny minority will be genuine predatory events.

The sooner we accept that and abandon our failed marketing, or whatever, the sooner we can start educating the public about the true nature of the animals we love.
It has worked with the big terrestrial predators and I have no doubt that over time, people will come to appreciate the big predatory Sharks for what they really are: potentially lethal and awe inspiring but at the same time, fascinating and once you get to know them better, even endearing – and above all, essential for the health of their habitat and tragically endangered.
So bravo Dr. Bucher.
He may be no expert but he's certainly a Shark conservation advocate - and yet he's not afraid of saying it like it is. 
That, and not the clamoring by the usual extremists and idiots is the correct starting point for finding solutions to the extremely complicated issue of those recent Shark strikes in Australia, Reunion and Recife.

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