Thursday, April 24, 2008

Found On The Internet-People are Less Sharky

Thanks for taking this poll
Which is your most ideal ocean vacation destination?
shark cage at Guadalupe Island
buffet line on a cruise ship in Alaska
lounge chair on the beach in the Bahamas
kayaking along the fjords of Chile
on the couch at home watching the Discovery Channel
Total Replies : 2791

Shark Diving and Feeding Raises Concerns, for Sharks and Divers

Voice of America recently tackled the open debate about shark diving and it's effects.

Sadly the piece, aired last week, is just a standard regurgitation of what has come many times before.

When tackling the complex issue of wild animal encounters-it would seem the media is less interested in fact finding and more interested in "commonly held shark notions".

Most of these "notions" are out of date and out of touch and not substantiated by any science or on site observations at all.

Here's the point. Operations like Rodney Fox in Australia have actually supported research to answer the burning question of "habituation" of white sharks to chum. It was a great project and yes there's actually an answer to that question now, we'll let the Foxes tell the world when they are ready.

This is how our industry will counter far flung and unsubstantiated claims about sharks and shark diving. In the end shark diving does change perceptions of sharks to thousands each and every year.

While the shark diving "industry" does have it's mavericks, those who push limits of wild animal encounters, it is good to be reminded that the entire industry is still growing and developing. Changes will happen as time moves forward. Accidents, as this industry grows, will happen as well. That is the nature of developing wild animal encounters.

In the end, and in the final summation, research to answer basic questions about sharks and shark diving will not only help the industry along, but it will provide those on the outside with a broader understanding of what we do and what these animals are doing there as well.

Media, instead of just reaching for the same old tired comments about an industry that, beside itself, has managed to introduce thousands of people, safely, to a wild predator that needs our help as much as any other wild animal in today's oceans.

Food for thought.

Wolfgang Leander and Son-Shark Family

There are precious few "originals" in our dive industry these days.

Even more so when you add sharks into the mix.

Here's one "absolute original" that we just had to introduce you to this morning. Hope you enjoy him.

From the Oceanicdreams Blog:

Usually when my dad and I get together sparks fly at one point or another – this time was no different: me giving him dirty looks or him giving me the stink eye when I would not get close enough for the shot of him in-between three large tiger sharks feeding on whale meat. But this trip just reaffirmed something to me: my dad LOVES sharks and is truly passionate about these magnificent animals.

For a long time I have quietly sat behind and listened to the conversations on various shark groups, seen scientists bicker, film makers becoming famous, Shark organizations refusing to work together and people fighting over credit of campaigns; I have come to wonder if these people are really passionate about sharks or about the fame and exposure for themselves or the organizations they represent.

I know one thing, my old man does not care if his photos are published, if his face is on a movie poster, if someone else takes credit for a campaign; (sure you might argue that you need the fame and exposure to get the message out – but it can be done together)…the only thing he cares about are sharks and spending as much time as possible with them. It is so deep that he got seriously depressed when he found out that some of the tiger sharks in both Aliwal Shoal and Tiger Beach were killed.

William Winram, world class freediver and waterman, said something to my dad that stuck with me: “You are an inspiration”…Wolf was the first one in the water and last one out…mind you he is 67.

And while I am sure the sparks will continue to fly I am very proud of having him as my father and consider him one of the few people that are truly truly passionate about sharks and their fate…