BAD TO WORSE

The West Australian government resumes its catch and kill policy after two fatal shark attacks in less than a week, warning people to stay out of the water. Sea Shepherd’s grandly titled “national shark campaign co-ordinator” is unimpressed:

“It’s been a pretty tragic week for beach users throughout WA.

“It’s been made worse by the Government’s drum lining program.”

The anti-drum liners argue that attempts to catch man-eaters are not only futile, humans must accept that we are intruders in the marine environment and that venturing into the ocean is hazardous: get eaten and that’s the way it goes.

The human intruder argument is not universally accepted. In Canada, polar bears that menace humans, or so much as pose a threat, no matter the environment, are subject to unceremonious, justified elimination:

When is it legal to shoot a polar bear?

This week, 17-year-old Nunavut hunter Jupi Angootealuk survived three days on an ice floe and the unwanted attentions of a fully grown female polar bear accompanied by a pair of cubs. Angootealuk shot the female dead when it came too close.

“That’s permitted under protection of life and property,” said Alden Williams, a conservation officer with the Department of Environment in Iqaluit.

And in Queensland, nominally part of Australia, misbehaving canines are subject to summary execution:

The death of any dingo on Fraser Island is unfortunate. However, some dingoes do become dangerous to people. This is considered an unacceptably high risk to the public, which is why some dingoes are humanely destroyed.

Sharks are different, however, and must be protected no matter what.

 

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