Natural Selection vs Common Sense
August 18, 2010
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Yesterday, another life was lost as a surfer enjoyed his hobby off the Perth shores – as reported in this News Article. I totally sympathise with the man’s family and friends. However, the resulting uproar (which seems to happen every time one of nature’s apex predators kills a human) never ceases to astound me and make me mourn the death of common sense.
It seems to me that the modern age of “advanced” civilisation has changed the self preservation instinct of billions of people. I don’t just mean that so many people seem to be much more ignorant of their own safety, but I’m also referring to this weird hyper-reaction whenever a member of the human race is lost to a creature that was built to dominate its environment. Take this guy for example:
That's not a kissing face...
When these guys are known to inhabit an area of ocean off the coast of your country, what is it that makes you want to surf in said patch of sea? I wouldn’t imagine that it’s common sense. If you KNOW that there’s a chance that one of these machines is going to take a bite out of you, WHY do you step into their playground? Wrapped in a suit that makes you look like a seal?? You know these beasts EAT seals, right? It’s a tragedy when anyone is lost to a natural predator and of course I can overlook the apparent lack of common sense that leads to an attack – fatal or not. What I will never understand though is the debate that always results from such an incident.
Inevitably the question is posed – “Why don’t we kill or cull these dangerous creatures?”
Many people have an opinion, educated or otherwise and it’s quite interesting to see that in many instances the victim’s family (and often the victim themself, if they’ve survived) are the most understanding. While so many simply scream for the utter destruction of a species, there are those who stand up for a creature which is only living according to its evolution.
My position is always in defense of these creatures. While the thought of seeing them in their natural habitat up close terrifies me, I could never agree with any kind of hunting when people have been clearly educated and forewarned. If a known predatory animal is living in a particular area and you choose to enter that environment, be prepared for the worst possible consequence. Don’t kill the creature that was just following its instinct. It was our fault we fooled it into thinking that a surfer was a seal. Certainly don’t make a species a target simply because of its genetics. If you don’t want to get attacked by a shark, at worst don’t go in the water at all.
If we were to look at some of the atrocities we commit against our own species as well as nature’s creatures, we would be ashamed of ourselves. I’m looking forward to the day when the whales decide that enough is enough and band together to sink a few whaling ships.