Thursday, February 25, 2010

Humans fascinated by news of animal attacks; Killer whale case latest to grab attention

Despite all our bluster about being at the top of the food chain, humans are pretty weak creatures. We can easily get killed by any number of wild animals and even supposedly tame animals that turn on us.
But by using our brains and our social nature, we banded together to wipe out most threats in the wild – lions, tigers, bears, you name it. But that doesn’t stop an occasional alligator, cougar, elephant, poisonous snake or other creature from showing us who has the physical upper hand.
This week’s fatal attack on a SeaWorld trainer by a killer whale in Orlando, Fla., brought that point home. Orcas are amazing animals, but you don’t turn your back on them no matter how trained they may be.
I’ve often thought there’s a good opportunity for a niche blog that keeps track of fatal animal attacks. A web search on Google turned up a couple of blogs on the subject that people started but abandoned. Keeping such a niche web resource going would take time and dedication.
Perhaps Wikipedia has the right idea. It has a section on Animal Attacks to which anyone can contribute. That way, if one person doesn’t have the time to update the scorecard of animal attacks, someone else can step up and do it.

Photo: SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in a file photo from the Orlando Sentinel. Brancheau was killed Feb. 24 by a male orca named Tilikum at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.

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