Hola Mi Amigos! This week has been spent watching a lot of Netflix and I got mildly interested in this show Hunter & Hunted which can be entertaining, if not a bit irritating.
The show chronicles animal attacks, similar to the show Fatal Attractions though the people who are attacked are not the owners of said animals. Instead this show focuses on wild animal attacks and attempts to discern what factors might have contributed to the attack.
Now that's all well and good, however, the narrator uses a dramatically sinister tone of voice, often making the animals in question out to be natures terrorists. Here, I'm going to highlight and dissect just a few episodes in brief.
Season One Ep. Alligators in Paradise: This episode chronicles a few different Alligator attacks in the Florida. With its myriad of man made water canals, and large population of Alligators which are still a protected species.
Many of these protected gators have gotten quite large. The show asks the question; "What has turned these large reptiles into man eaters?". I think that this is a silly question, Alligators are ambush predators and opportunistic feeders, anyone straying too near the water is increasing the odds of coming in contact with a gator. In some areas of Florida, many of the larger gators have grown up around humans and therefore have no fear of man. This is not a case of Alligators turning "Bad" and becoming man eaters and intentionally targeting humans. The gators are doing what comes naturally.
Season 2 Ep. Shark Invasion: This episode takes a look at the beaches of Recife, Brazil, where shark attacks have increased in response to industrialization. My issue with this episode, is that the writers go out of their way to make the sharks out to be vicious man eaters that are out to hunt humans. This episode was a direct contrast to the excellent and informative show Shark Rebellion which aired on the Discovery Channel as part of their Shark Week programming. To this I say Fuck You National Geographic Channel! I would have thought that a company like Nat Geo would be smart enough to make accurate reports and attempt to educate the public as opposed to trying to scare an already shark weary public! The episode could lead one to think that there are sharks out there that do nothing but hunt humans. As I've been in the water with Bull, Tiger and Scalloped Hammerhead sharks to name a few. I can tell you that most sharks will go out of their way to avoid humans. If there were sharks out there hunting humans, even one shark swimming around with the intention of eating humans and there would be far more attacks on humans than there are every year!
Season 2 Ep. Stalked at Sea: This one chronicles a Surfer on an East London, South Africa Beach who was simultaneously attacked by two Great White Sharks. A truly amazing event in and of itself. The Narrator states that "Great Whites do not inhabit this area." Below is a map showing the locations of Seal Island, which has the highest concentration of Great White Sharks anywhere in the world and Nahoon Beach, East London where the attack took place, both in South Africa.
Now I am not 100% sure but I think that Sharks can and do swim wherever they want to. Unless there is a shark somewhere that abides by state and national boundaries, however, I doubt that this shark exists.
Below is the video of said surfer being attacked. Truly a frightening thought, but it happened.
The Narrator goes on to ask if there was something about this surfer which made him a "Shark Magnet". He [The Narrator] goes on to point out that surfers wear wetsuits, which could make them appear to look like a Seal to these sharks. He then goes on and on leading viewers to think that all sharks are dangerous and will attack humans for no reason. This negative media sensationalism is completely contradictory to the show Air Jaws which originally aired on the Discovery Channel. On Air Jaws scientists prove unequivocally that Great Whites around South Africa will attack anything which appears to be food. They also explain the contributing factors to these attacks; Poor visibility, abundance and location(s) of prey, water temperature and time of day.
Personlly, I found these episodes to be counterproductive to Shark preservation. An organization like National Geographic should be working to educate the public about the function of these predators in their environment. At the same time they should be educating the public about conservation efforts, behavior and ways to avoid shark encounters much in the same way that Discovery does. They should absolutely not be sensationalizing the negative aspects of sharks and Alligators, which are beneficial to the ecosystem. Below are two charts, one is the statistics compiled from the ISAF (International Shark Attack File) the other is Automobile Fatalities Statistics compiled by Car Accidents.com. People are afraid of going into the ocean due to shows depicting man eating sharks, but think nothing of getting behind the wheel, Mystifying!
Shark Attack Stats
Car Fatalities Stats