Seychelles calls in SA shark experts

2011-08-17 11:15
Cape Town - The Seychelles has called in South African experts to help identify the species of shark that may be responsible for the death of a tourist.

On Tuesday, Ian Redmond from Lancashire was killed by a shark in the Seychelles and Sky News reported that his body will be flown back to the UK.

The shark struck in the waters off Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin, which is a popular destination with honeymooners.

This is the second fatal shark attack there in two weeks. A 36-year-old French tourist was killed on August 2.

Shark attacks are so random that no trends can be observed, an expert has said.

"They [shark attacks] are so sporadic that if you look for trends, you're going to get disappointment," shark expert Leonard Compagno told News24.

Generally, experts believe that shark attacks usually occur because the shark mistakes people in the water for seals, especially when surfers, for example, wait for wave on their boards.

Accidental

Compagno said that one could distinguish between a shark attack where the shark intended to kill the victim and one that was accidental.

"Sharks generally do not prey on people. When you have a genuine predation bout, you know it's because pieces are taken out of the victim," he said.

"They may go repeatedly at people. This does happen, but on the other hand, it's rare.

"On the other hand there have been single bites that are not necessarily cases of mistaken identity," he added.

In December 2010, a German tourist in Egypt was killed by a shark attack at the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after authorities re-opened the beaches, following fatal shark attacks.

But according to Compagno, some sharks avoid biting people and some researchers study sharks in the water without the protection of cages.

Aggressive

"There are whites sharks around [Miller's Point near Cape Town] and I know a couple of people who have repeatedly gone on dives with white sharks.

"It shows that they may be deliberately not targeting people," he said.

He said that where humans are bitten by sharks, it could be determined that it was either accidental or the shark was particularly aggressive. But these bites are different to way sharks bites seals.

"Most shark incidents where bites occur have been limited bites; they can do quite a bit more damage than is the case with humans."


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