Shark tourism has been popular for a while now, but maybe it's time for tourists to stop looking to be entertained by creatures that are way out of our league.
This weekend another shark claimed a human life off the coast of Western Australia, the fifth fatality in merely 10 months. The movie-like details of surfer Ben Linden's death, witnessed by a nearby jet-skiing friend, has oceanic experts wondering if shark behavior is changing for the worse--possibly as a result of growing tourism efforts to attract sharks to humans.
Sharks aren't exactly considered the most cerebral creatures on our planet, but their existence alone is testament to their sheer survival skills over the eons. With all of the tourist excursions that use bait to attract sharks for people to "experience" them first-hand, sharks will inevitably begin to associate humans with food. Apparently they're known to take bites out of objects even if they aren't sure the object is edible.
What's even more tragic is that now the government of Western Australia will probably review the national protected status of the great white shark, a policy implemented 20 years ago since they were considered an endangered species. Of course, the bottom line of the tourism industry is a special factor in this move. Hard to see an end to this growing problem without some serious education and warnings to the public.