Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Laws to protect the stupid

In July of 2001 off the coast of Australia a whale died and was floating in a popular harbor. The dead whale attracted numerous large white sharks to feed off it. Since it occurred right off a major port, many people were drawn to the carcass to watch the sharks feed. However, some people took it a little to far. A couple people thought it was a good idea to stand on the dead whale and pat the white sharks as they ate. This prompted Australia law makers to consider making laws "to protect people who are to stupid to protect themselves".

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia may change laws "to protect people too stupid to protect themselves" after sightseers clambered on a floating dead whale and patted great white sharks eating the carcass, a senior official said Tuesday.

South Australian state Environment Minister Iain Evans said he will ask his department to consider regulations preventing people from coming within 109 yards of a dead whale. At present, the law only keeps people that distance from a live whale.

Evans said he was shocked at the disrespect the tourists showed for their own safety when they were caught on film this week patting the sharks near Cape Jervis, 60 miles south of Adelaide.

"I am also appalled by the bizarre behavior of walking across the back of dead whales or, for that matter, patting a great white shark while it is feeding," Evans said.

"These creatures are not toys. In the case of the great white, they can be extremely dangerous and it is clear the state government will need to look at changing the law in order to protect people too stupid to protect themselves," he added.

Now I would never recommend getting close to any feeding sharks, but the danger was probably not as serve as some would think. Sharks usually get locked in to a particular food source, and only have eyes for that food source, at that time. They are not the merciless killers that they are made out to be. For example, tiger sharks will travel to particular island when they know sea birds chicks will be making their first attempts at flight. They wait for the novice birds to land in the shallows, and then gobble them up. During this time sea turtles, the tiger shark favorite food, will swim right past the tiger sharks without being noticed.

Its also been noticed that white sharks that are feeding on seals will pass up on penguins that are living on the same beach as the seals.

So as it may have been dangerous to stand on the dead whale. I believe that the white sharks would have been content on strictly feeding on the whale carcass. But I always thought the 'law to protect stupid people from themselves' was funny.

No comments: