- Experts Scramble to Understand Fatal Shark Attacks in South Africa
- Whale Wars Continue as Japanese Whaling Ships Leave Port
- Turtle Spearing Photos Being Investigated in Australia
Experts Scramble to Understand Fatal Shark Attacks in South Africa
Following five consecutive shark attacks that have all been lethal, experts in South Africa are puzzling over why the attacks were so aggressive, and led to death in every circumstance. Speculation has ranged from sacrifices being performed by traditional healers attracting sharks with blood to the possibility of a curse having been placed on surfers and rescuers, the only victims of the attacks. The majority of the attacks have been attributed to bull sharks, which are notorious for aggressive behavior and hunting in shallow waters. Although shark incidents are frequent along South Africa’s coast, the occurrence of death is only about 1 in 6 nationwide. The beach where the attacks have taken place was once considered safe from the predators, but the frequency has convinced surfers and even rescuers to give up recreational activity in these waters. A government funded national study into the cause has begun, but scientists worry that prevention is a more important aspect at this point.
Whale Wars Continue as Japanese Whaling Ships Leave Port
Despite speculation that Japan would possibly forgo its scientific research whaling program this year, two of the fleet’s main harpoon vessels have left port, without ceremony or celebration. The ships are flanked by the Japanese Coast Guard and other patrol ships, to monitor interactions between the whaling ships and protesters, specifically Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Coast Guard has been given permission to arrest anyone attempting to trespass on a Japanese ship. Meanwhile, Sea Shepherds are experiencing an obstacle presented by the Australian government, who have refused to issue their helicopter pilot a visa, despite having given no reason for doing so. The group expects to receive a reason for the decision this week.
Turtle Spearing Photos Being Investigated in Australia
Photographs of indigenous hunters near Cairns, Australia have been sent to the Association of Marine Tourism Operators, depicting them spearing endangered sea turtles while tourists swim nearby. Although natives are allowed to hunt the animals under Australia’s Native Title Act, many of the Aboriginal tribes in the area have halted the activity due to their endangered status. An investigation is being launched to determine if the men are poachers, or, if they are within their rights, discussing the propriety of their actions in front of hundreds of tourists at a time when the country is trying to promote conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.