Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Mighty but Vulnerable: The Tiger Sharks of Aliwal Shoal


William Winram with a female tiger shark
Photo: Wolfgang Leander

Click on image to enlarge

When I look at this female shark I cannot help but getting overpowered by deep anguish - is she still around or has she been caught in the shark nets of near-by Scottburgh, or perhaps killed by senseless fishermen?

Aliwal Shoal is a marine sanctuary, and tiger sharks belong to the species that are expressly protected there.

Yet, the place is rather dangerous for these most gentle and non-aggressive animals.

As many as forty tiger sharks get fatally trapped every year in the shark nets and hooked on the baited drums which are 'managed' by the Durban-based Natal Sharks Board.

When you consider that the once plentiful tiger shark populations world-wide have been diminished by some 80-90% during the past 30 years or so due to indiscriminate over-fishing - mostly for their fins as you probably know by now, dear reader - you would think that this precious species, like many others, would be in a safe haven in the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area. They aren't.

Why don't people, in this case South Africans, cherish what they are so privileged to have, and that is unique and almost as ancient as God himself? Because of greed, indifference, stupidity - and, most sadly, a complete lack of basic compassion for the suffering of fellow creatures. It's always the same story.

What is wrong with us humans? How heartless and stupid can we be to knowingly destroy what we are part of, and not care about it?

Albert Einstein comes, again, to my mind: "Only the universe and human stupidity have no boundaries; however, I am not so sure about the universe".



1 comment:

Andrew said...

We need more of this, sharks are in very real danger right now and need our help. The more the public gets educated and informed the better. To educate yourself, view: http://www.sharks.org.za