Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shark Week, Part II...

So I've been paying attention to the blog that I posted on yesterday regarding sharks, and one poster brought up something that I hadn't really noticed. I haven't gotten much of a chance to actually watch much "Shark Week" this year. I'm planning on watching the reruns on my days off to get caught up on the new stuff.

But this guy had a good point. Most of the shows this year are portraying sharks as a violent, viscous killer. This type of media isn't going to help the shark's case. But the shows almost all have "Eaten Alive," "Blood," "Killer," or "Most Dangerous" in their names. Now, I know that part of this is all to make money, but I feel that these types of shows have a purpose, but they should be shown along with other programming that portrays the shark in more positive light.

Here is what I posted on the blog after I realized this, thanks to the poster's comments:

"George P.

You know, you're right. I wrote that post before I had watched much of the episodes of "Shark Week" this year...darned work has made it difficult for me to find time, but tonight I caught up on all of the premieres, and I must say I'm a bit disappointed at the general direction that Discovery has seemed to go with this years shows. They are in fact depicting these creatures in a negative light. I can only hope that over the next few nights Discovery can begin to redeem itself with some truly good programming that goes in depth about these creatures and what they do FOR the planet instead of what they do TO people.

I think that everyone out there could learn a thing or two from Dr. Erich Ritter. He was the guy that was attacked by the bull shark in "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" a few years ago and was on again tonight (Tuesday) in "Top 5 Eaten Alive." Erich Ritter had his left calf literally ripped from his leg by a bull shark, and what did he do?? He got right back into the water, in the same spot, with the same sharks. If a man that had his life changed forever by one of these animals can forgive and forget, and get back in the water, then maybe all of us can learn something from him.

If you want to see something that will truly make you wonder what's going on in the world, watch the documentary "Shark Water." Twenty-nine year old diver/director Rob Stewart will show you some things that you'll wish weren't happening...it's truly a great documentary that shows some things that other shows and documentaries probably would never even touch.

Unfortunately for these creatures, they might not have an awful lot of time left. In my research that I've been doing over the last several days, many scientists are suggesting that a majority of the species of sharks out there could be extinct within the next 10 years. That's a terrible tragedy for this planet, and mankind should be ashamed for allowing this to happen.

Only through education can we start to combat the misinformation and fear that surrounds these creatures. Start with this...ask everyone you know this question: "How many unprovoked shark attacks occur WORLDWIDE every year, and how many deaths result from them?" I asked this to several coworkers today and got answers ranging from "Several hundred deaths and 1,000 attacks to 1,000 attacks and a 'zillion' deaths."

In reality, the average number of YEARLY shark attacks WORLDWIDE is less than 70. That's right. Less than 70 humans get bit by sharks while just minding their own business. Of these 70, only 5 die. So sharks are getting a reputation as man eaters and killers while they are doing less damage to the human race than just about any other cause of death out there. Of the millions of people that swim in the ocean, only 70 every year get bit by a shark. That's a pretty small number...yet the shark is painted as a ruthless, mindless, heartless killer...it's just wrong.

It's 2009. It's time to start loving these creatures for what they are, not hating them for what they aren't."

It really is time for us to start valuing these animals more than we do. I think I'm going to start looking around for ways that I can help with conservation of these animals.

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