Every so often, reports of shark attacks hit the media and so often these are riddled with graphic headings like “Blood everywhere” or “Killer shark strikes again”! But no one celebrates the other 364 days of the year that these apex predators swim off our coastlines contributing to the marine ecosystem… and don’t affect us negatively. We don’t cast them a thought then and yet these magnificent creatures are the ones that are really under threat. Consider the “Great White” or white shark as it’s also known. This 1-ton animal has a reputation like no other and yet is a protected species in South African waters – a feat for conservation. Or so some would think. Recent reports of a young bodyboarder being attacked in Kogel Baysparked a media furore when speculation and opinion about the cause of the attack was voiced. A witness to the attack was quoted as saying: “…I feel we are interfering way too much with the great whites, with chumming the waters and cage diving etc, and that this may be causing the sharks to behave unnaturally…” The Ocearch Team doing research on Great Whites and simultaneously making a television show called “Shark Men”, came under fire as the culprits at the centre of the controversy but then, there’s always two sides to a story…or more! Enter outraged surfers, business-conscious shark-cage diving operators, wary bathers and truth-crazed scientists! What is the future for the white shark?
After our main feature, we catch up with the marine-loving community on the East Coast as a group of individuals protest passively against the deaths of tiger sharks in nets in a flower-strewn “paddle out” – a ritual performed traditionally by surfers as a memorial for and to honour shark-attack victims.
We then review “White Sharks: Magnificent, Mysterious & Misunderstood” a book by Dr Dirk Schmidt.
For the past 25 years, Jacob has been working in the game industry – since he was a boy of about 14. He is one of a multitude of African gamekeepers who has fostered a unique understanding of game and wildlife in general, by working hands-on with these animals in the bush for many years. About four years ago, Zagrys Jordaan, the owner of the game farm brought in two buffalo bulls and two cows for breading purposes. Jacob was the natural choice to take care of these animals, and over the years, he built a unique relationship with the growling herd. As part of his daily routine, Jacob walks among the herd in the bush, and can immediately tell you when an animal is sick, hurt or unhappy, or when a cow is about to calf. As a single buffalo can reach up to R20-million – as it recently did on an auction in North West – taking care of these animals’ welfare is an extremely important and financially rewarding job. The big stud bull is called Maponjane, and the rest of the herd responds to numbers – from One to 22 – when Jacob calls them.
Eko-Ondersoek – Rico, the sniffer-dog
This season Pierre & Faye are our eco-warriors who head out to hunt down eco-heros and investigate eco-villains in this regular slot “Eko-Ondersoek”. And our first hero is a four-legged friend. Rico the sniffer dog was recently employed to fill what is one of the choking points against the illegal exporting of rhino horn. If the poachers have managed to get rhino horn past the anti-poaching authorities, the next step is to get it through our international ports and this is where Rico plays a vital role.
More on the rhino front involves the launch of a new RAGE Campaign…
Also on 50|50 in episode 2:
- VeldFokus – Appearances can be deceiving
- SimonSays – The SKA’s uses
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