But what a career!
Playing puppetmaster to the most feared creature in the world… what’s not to love about being a shark researcher?
You get to go out on boats, marvel in the majesty of nature, lure giant beasts into your trap, sew sophisticated little beepers into their guts and then, in a gesture of environmental magnanimity unprecedented in human history, let them go.
Later, back at the lab, you can sit there with your feet on the desk, watching as your pets swim from one surf beach to the next, reassuring yourself that human casualties from your little lovelies are statistically insignificant, especially to the majority of people who don’t even go in the ocean.
And it’s those masses of people, you know, who are lathering your fresh sourdough in Echire. As long as you maintain the rage against “human intervention” in the environment, and never miss an opportunity to emphasise the urgency for more research, your career is guaranteed.
And what a career!
You can condescendingly dismiss people who, in their ignorance, are stupid enough to fear being eaten alive! You will be revered by misanthropes who believe every species on Earth is better, more virtuous and wonderful than humans! Politicians will throw money at your proposals, secure in the knowledge that green money is well spent!
Never mind that your tagging operations are in fact a form of “human intervention” that has dubious results. Environmentalists are never bothered by facts, as long as they dig the vibe of what you’re doing.
And try not to dwell too long on those tags that disappear as soon as they are attached to a shark. Like refugees drowning on their way to Australia, these are the unseen, and therefore acceptable, costs of being seen to care.
Those wonderful, majestic, powerful, awesome sharks that swam away, never to be heard from again. Did they die?
Were they deprived of food because their prey were forewarned of their presence by the very tag you attached?
Did the tag cause them irritation and infection, and possibly kill them?
Best not to think too much about that. But even if those outcomes are correct, that you did contribute to the death of your beloved apex predators, then surely they died knowing that your research was helping them survive.
For more on Australia’s extensive, expensive and mostly futile shark tagging programs, click here…