Thursday, January 31, 2019

Jason - the Video!

Click twice for detail!

And, I trust you've seen this?
Here it is in much better resolution - watch in 1080!.

Is that cool or what!
And, did I say, Friendliest, most accessible and most humble guy, ever?
The dude with the beard sitting at the center of the pic is photographer Daniel Smith, obviously a close friend of Jason. Most of the footage, and the awesome little edit are his.

Oh - and now you know why they call us the BAD Boyz! :)
Anyway - enjoy!

Orca vs Turtle!


Oldie but goodie.
Enjoy - story here!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Shark Diving in Fiji 2019!

Hunter and Predator - click for detail! 


Very nice!
Tom calls it a little teaser, and we are obviously very much looking forward to what is to follow.
More info by Tom here and here.

Enjoy - and a big Vinaka Vakalevu!

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 - and about the uncritical willingness of those punters to be thusly thrown, see further below!

  • 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 token disrespectful self-promoting bimbette 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 here).. and this is just sad....

PPS - Martin here!

PPPS - well yes maybe - but then again, coming after a decade of  very public Shark harassment, it sounds hollow; the more as the punters that are so obviously clue- and reckless may be taking those risks precisely because of all the publicity, and glorification of her feats, and the public belittling of the associated dangers!

PPPPS - Patric here. Well said, Sir - eloquent and totally on point as always!
And I cite, The same stunt with bears, wolves, tigers and gorillas would land you in jail, if done with the exact same shark at Guadalupe Island you would be fined and jailed

PPPPPS - Well said Danny! :)

PPPPPPS - great post by Michelle here - torpor included! :)

PPPPPPPS - Indeed!

PPPPPPPPS - more hypocritical rubbish by the King of Shark Porn. Well, maybe there would not be such a need to change perspectives and creating massive global awareness had you not been so successful in creating the media that demonize Sharks in the first place, to wit e.g. this horrible piece of horse manure you produced!

PPPPPPPPPS - sweet, we got ourselves a tussle among Shark bimbettes! How quaint! I swim with them for pure enjoyment = not for camera? Right, hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.....

PPPPPPPPPPS - and we got ourselves yet another beauty! Yay! This would be one of Mauricio's illegal out-of cage freedivers  scientific collaborators (case in point!) disparaging another - by posting a pic of the illegal irresponsible and selfish behavior that certain individuals have been promoting as conservation science for years... Again, how quaint!

PPPPPPPPPPPS - more by Michael here and here!

PPPPPPPPPPPPS  - And for god's sake, whether you believe Lemuria is modern day Hawaii or not, leave the poor dolphins alone! Figure out how to talk to them from the shore or something. Hahahahahahahahaha!

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - the bloody Whale carcass has drifted back onshore - and hopefully stays there!

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - and we got ourselves one more visitor - which begs the question, what is going on: is this exceptional or is it the norm, and we are just finding out about it now? 

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPS - The question is, how can we interact with animals and leave their habitat better than we found it? This is why shark diving and shark tourism in marine protected sanctuaries (where fees collected by dive operators and government go towards habitat preservation) are an inspiring alternative. Hear hear!

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 diving and interacting 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 very clearly and unequivocally 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...
PPS - Michael here - thanks!

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!