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Shark attacks!! 2 Jul 2008

Posted by cat64fish in Land-lubber stories.

I was reading “The Human, The Orchid and The Octopus” by Jacques Cousteau and Susan Schiefelbein. Coustaeu, as (hopefully) everyone knows, was a world renowned ocean explorer and environmentalist, and Susan was formerly an editor for the Saturday Review, and had co-authored several books with Cousteau.

In the opening chapter, Susan recalls the time she and Cousteau were having lunch, and their conversation turned to shark attacks. Cousteau looked disgusted and said that he has never known a shark to have attacked. Looking surprised, the author pointed out the various people who have lost limbs and even lives to such attacks. Pointing to the eggs they were eating, he said, “It is eating. Are you attacking that egg?”.

I couldn’t stop laughing at the very clear understanding the man had of shark behaviour. What we perceive as an attack on us, is merely the shark behaving as it should – as the top predator of the sea – to which everything that enters its domain is but prey. There is no malice on the part of the shark, as we often subscribe to in cases where the victim is human.

I am still reading the book, but I am already sure that I would like to have a copy of the book as my own (the one I am reading is a library copy), for an insight into the man I count as having inspired me the most to persuing my studies in marine biology.



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