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August 2018 by V. R. Duin


As the strange procession neared shore
There was heard a frightened roar.
“That's no dolphin towing the craft.
Out of the water! Leave your raft!”
(“Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up”)

Reunion Island sharks do not bring the shark attack reading fun to Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up, but this anti-bullying book for children may help solve the Reunion Island shark problem.

Attacks are rare. Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up was written in defense of sharks. It takes kids from fear to fascination. Few fish are as feared. No other fish has earned a week of celebration.

Sharks in Reunion Island are less risky than other dangers. The Florida Museum of Natural History breaks down The Odds of a Shark Attack Compared to Other Risks.

Animals are stereotyped. They get named for their trouble spots. Some animals deserve bad reputations. Humans and their cats kill for sport. Most animals kill for food or safety.

Reunion Island sharks receive bad press. Facts and team-building can change bad images and scary reputations. Stingrays are dangerous when someone grabs, blocks or steps on them.

Avoidance is possible. Protective equipment is available to keep people safe. Electric, acoustical and magnetic repellents may work. Cages and weapons are widely used.

Nets offer low-cost control at beaches. Guards quickly rescue swimmers and waders in shallow water. It is harder to protect surfers in deep areas. Swimming bans and notices are posted to warn of dangers.

Tiny sharks can make nasty wounds. Keep sharks in sight. They are known to circle. They spin their bodies to come from behind or below. An unaware person may be sampled. Most sharks relinquish humans.

Problems with a few fish are blown out of size. Visuals may facilitate learning. At PNAS, there are discussions of Human Development of the Ability to Learn from Bad News.

Danger may not seem real. A child, who has never seen sharks, may feel no fear. A child, who has seen a film or a picture of a shark attack death or injury, may not want to get near the water.

Most encounters end well. About ten people in the world die yearly from attacks. Within that time, millions of sharks are killed for sport. Some bad news has all sharks under assault.

It is not fun to read about scary sharks. They give people good reasons to swim at guarded beaches and stay out of the water at night. Perhaps it is time to print Little Ray's books in French.

Arriving sharks can be seen from shore. Sightings often give people time to exit the water. A shark and Little Ray work together to get stranded boaters out of the water and back to shore.

With bites, nobody dies. Their teeth may be tougher and sharper, but their grip on people is rarely persistent. Reunion Island surfing sharks gained infamy for frequent, vicious incursions.

Thrills can end poorly. Bigger size puts more energy behind their bites. Sharks can weigh ten times the weight of a person. Size generally offers advantage in battles.

Sightings involve seeing without harm. Readers don't face sun damage. There is no need for sunscreen, special clothing or sunglasses for UV light. Reading can be done inside or in shade.

Deadly shark attack has clear meaning. In books and movies, sharks are all about scares. These may have led to revenge killings. People seek adventure and excitement to look brave and strong.

Shark encounter involves contact with sporting equipment. No people are touched. Little Ray's friend takes nips from objects. The encounter proves natural enemies can get along.

Some sharks seem to have no sense of pain. They perpetuate feeding frenzies when injured. Pizard's GURPS Miscellanea notes that Carcharhinid Sharks, or requiem sharks, are among them.

Surfers may get in the way. It is common for sharks to taste test objects, like boats and surfboards. They are unlikely to put up with nonsense. They can catch stingrays.

Surfing appears to attract sharks. Splashing from paddling surf boards to surfing areas attracts them. Falls into shark-infested waters get attention from these bold fish.

Safety tips for attacking sharks. Slowly leave the water or group together and stay calm. If one advances, hit it with something or punch it in the eyes, gills or snout. Troublesome catches get abandoned.

Sharks are in troubled waters. Visit Elasmodiver's Shark Blog for Unexpected Encounters. Great White Sharks, Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks are top suspects.

The United States, South Africa and Australia head shark problem charts. The Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida published a Yearly Worldwide Shark Attack Summary.

Fish are creatures of habit. They return to feeding areas and follow routines. They make automatic responses. Aggression may be provoked by outside activities. Attacks may not be inside goals.

Support bans and boycotts against shark and ray products. Stop mass shark killings for sport and for the fin trade. Entire species of this family are threatened with extinction.

CITES protects wild flora and fauna. It pledges to make a splash with stronger shark and ray policing. It holds World Wildlife Day for global, public awareness.

Bigger fish may be safer. Adult sharks weigh from under one pound to many tons. Thailand is home to mega-sized rays and sharks. Whale sharks may be the largest fish in the world. They do not bite.

The Giant Manta Ray dwarfs humans. It uses sucking parts to filter food particles. It has no teeth. There is no count of giant oceanic manta rays left in the wild.

The words to the following video are: “Join with the best and respect the rest. We never know how things will go.” Illustrations and ideas are from the children's book. (34 seconds)