Saturday, September 25, 2010

Abalone Poacher Killed by Great White Shark in South Africa

A great white shark in action

A group of twelve poachers were illegally harvesting abalone in the waters of South Africa near Gansbaai when suddenly, a great white shark came out of nowhere! One of the dozen, Khanyisile Momoza, was unfortunate enough to be attacked and killed by the 25-foot-long terror of the deep. His friends were so terrified, that they could not save Momoza and frantically swam ashore with their catch. After that, they alerted the authorities about the tragedy. According to news reports, this was the second death by shark attack in South Africa this year. The last one had taken place in January, which involved a tourist named Lloyd Skinner who was killed when he swam a few meters away from the beach in Fish Hoek near Cape Town. Rescuers did not recover his body, except his swimming goggles.

South Africa has been a primary hotspot for shark attacks for years. Most of the victims have been surfers and other beach goers. However, humans do not fall under the sharks' menu like what is seen in the movie Jaws. The reason is because our flesh is not high in fat, compared to other animals that sharks feed on. Usually when a shark bites someone, it will simply let go of that person and then swim away. It is often referred to as an "exploratory bite," in which a shark bites something to see if it's worth eating or not. A common example is when a shark attacks a surfer from underneath, mistaking it for a seal which happens to be the animal's preferred choice of prey. In my opinion, this attack on an abalone poacher was one of the rare cases in which the victim does not have time to swim to safety. Because once the shark has made its attack, it will retreat back underwater and wait for its prey to die. This helps prevent injury to the animal from its wounded victim. And I guess Mr. Momoza appeared to have been too exhausted and injured to swim to his safety. A classic example in which the hunter becomes the hunted!

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