Saturday, August 14, 2010

To feed or not to feed - that is the question.

Just touching, not feeding.
Photograph: Sijmon de Waal (2007)

Click on image to enlarge

While I have only occasionally offered a shark a fish carcasse, I normally caress sharks as gently as possible, and never hold on to a fin to get a ride or perform stunts for others.

I am very well aware that touching sharks or other wild animals is debatable, and not everybody accepts my explanation that when I feel attracted to a being, human or animal, I just have the urge to stroke it. Thus, touching a shark is to me no more than a tactile expression of love.

One shark diver who would never interact closely with large tiger sharks, and saw me doing it a few times, has not only gone beyond touching tigers, but keeps hand-feeding them to see how far he can push the envelope to impress fellow divers and especially marveling media folks.

All I can say is that hand-feeding a tiger shark is neither difficult (potentially dangerous - yes) nor necessary. I have decided to quit doing it, also in order to not put my dive shark operator in a compromising position should anything bad happen.

Here is a blog with a magazine article on the subject I find not only very well written but highly informative and as balanced as any report on such sensitive issue can be.

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