Friday, January 15, 2010

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

Let us turn away, at least for a moment, from the on-going whaling tragedy in the Southern Ocean to another tragedy that deserves your attention. This is the recent fatal attack on a swimmer near Cape Town by a Great White Shark described as being "dinosaur huge". Similar attacks in Australia have prompted government plans to seek out and destroy these 'rogue' sharks. Even though it may surprise you for me to say this, given my dislike for these mindless eating machines, I do not think such action is justified. We are all part of nature, and nature can be unkind. Moreover, you cannot kill them all. While showboating divers on television fool around with White Sharks 3 to 4 meters in length and get away with it, there are others out there that are much larger and far more dangerous. I am not talking only about the big sisters that return to the Farallones every September that can reach 5 meters in length. I am referring to monsters 6 meters and up, like the one who devoured that hapless human near Cape Town. The sad reality is that every time one of your kind goes into the water off South Africa, South Australia or Northern California, they are risking a close encounter of the worst kind. So be warned, unlike Orcas, the killers among my kind, Great White Sharks will eat you if you give them the opportunity. If you do not want to risk it, swim in a pool.

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