Thursday, 23 January 2014

Sharks in crisis -Polititcians don't care.

Hello and welcome to my latest wildlife blog.  As regular readers will know this is usually a  monthly publication,  however recent news coming to light has compelled me to publish an earlier edition focusing on two huge issues. Firstly the legalisation of the shark cull in Western Australia has left myself and countless others gobsmacked and lost for words. Secondly the horrific images which have been surfing the internet recently of the dolphin slaughter in Denmark are obviously appalling to see but need to be shared to show  this disgusting behaviour which has now it seems  become a  Danish tradition.  I hope these news stories stir up emotions of anger and sadness in  you as it did myself I have no doubt that they will.

Legalisation of the shark cull in Western Australia.

Before I express my views on this it is important for me to state that it is not my intention to underplay the devastating consequences of a shark attack. Although rare these are tragic events and the suffering by the victim and people close to them are hard for any of us to even comprehend.

      A Summary of the clearing of the shark cull.
  • Environmental minister Greg Hunt has cleared the cull, exempting them from federal legislation the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act which is designed to protect threatened species.
  • National interest was the reason given for the cull to be cleared after an appeal from the Western Australian government.
  • The cull will be taken place through the use of 72 baited hooks 1 kilometre from the shoreline of eight beaches situated in the Perth and south-west area.
  • Boats will patrol these areas any sharks measuring over three meters long will be shot.
  • Hunt wrote a letter to Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett, and stated that Australians understood the risk of open sea activities and government cannot take away the risk at a general level, however he went onto state that seven shark attacks had taken place in the last three years which was  " well above the historic norm". He then stated that the exemption of the conservation act was appropriate.
  • The exemption states that WA’s $8.5bn tourism industry could be hit by continual shark attacks and that the cull should be allowed subject to conditions aimed at reducing harm to seabirds and whales.
  • It has been stated in the exemption the tourism industry in the WA area as a result of continued shark attacks could be damaged as a result the cull would also reduce damage to seabirds and whales.
  • The exemption would last until the 30th of April.
Full story can be found here http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/21/shark-cull-greg-hunt-exempts-wa

          My view

     In my opinion people who enter the sea where potentially dangerous animals are present do so at their own risk. I say the same about people who work in the African bush and other truly wild situations. On my two conservation trips to South Africa I willingly took the risk of potential harm and my family know if anything had happened to me retribution on the animal would be the last thing I would want. So I feel huge amounts of anger and sorrow when I read sharks are to be culled to protect people entering their domain. How are they to know what they can and cannot prey upon, in fact many sharks attacks are believed to be the case of mistaken identity. The point I am passionate about is that we are purely intruders into the marine world every time we venture into the sea, alien to its inhabitants we manipulate their lives as we see fit. Animals suffer because we want to control everything, we want the natural world to cower to our "power" when really desperate acts such as this cull only represent our ignorance. Sharks have been around for millions of years, they survived what the dinosaurs could not. Their power and grace have the ability to leave people awestruck and yet as a species we continue to deplete their resources, destroy their world and kill mindlessly  whenever we see fit. Sharks may well have outlived the dinosaurs. Whether they will outlive humans is a very different matter.

You are more likely to suffer theses fates than fall victim to shark attack.

Your chances of being a shark attack victim are 1 in 3,700,000 ( National Geographic).

For every human fatality, two million sharks are killed . (National Geographic).

In the USA and Canada roughly 40 people are killed by pigs each year. This equates to six times more than worldwide shark attack fatalities.

Globally more people are victims of falling coconuts than sharks.

In the United States of America the likelihood of being struck by lightening is twenty times higher than being attacked by a shark.

(Shark Foundation)

Calderon dolphin slaughter.

The second issue I am highlighting is something so barbaric it is beyond description. I have to warn you the images are distressing and highlight one of the most appalling "traditions" I and countless others have ever seen evidence of.  Hard as it may be, this sequence of pictures must be shared to shame the people of power into action, so you please help spread the word.

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MjM5NDM0NTA2Mg%3D%3D&mid=10100142&idx=7&sn=2338d5d305296bc264ba02c8620c3c69&scene=4#rd

I hope you enjoyed the blog, sorry it was one of the more bleak ones published but I felt these issues needed to be highlighted.
Thank you for reading,
George.


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