Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Actor Rob Lowe encounters great white sharks off California; video

Actor Rob Lowe felt relatively safe and showed no fear while paddleboarding around two great white sharks off Santa Barbara, California, but a shark expert indicated to “Good Morning America” that he might have had a false sense of security.

Lowe, who was captured in video with the sharks by a TMZ film crew last weekend, told the news outlet, “You just can’t believe your eyes. They’re so powerful, and you definitely don’t want to fall in.”

Lowe, who has spent a great deal of time on the water in his lifetime of fishing and surfing, had never seen a great white shark until the encounter last weekend in which he described as a “once in a lifetime” moment.

The two great white sharks were as big or bigger than Lowe’s paddleboard, but the actor had a sense of calm around the apex predators.

“I don’t pretend to be expert on it, but my sense is they’re eating the rays and the skates; they’re not big enough to eat seals so I don’t feel like we’re on the menu for them,” Lowe told TMZ. “They’re tiny as great white sharks go. I wouldn’t be out here if mom were out here.”

Rob Lowe paddling with great white sharks

Dr. Stephen Kajiura, a shark expert from Florida Atlantic University, told “Good Morning America” that the smaller great white sharks feed primarily on fishes and don’t hunt for larger prey “until they’re much bigger and their teeth become big, broad, triangular serrated teeth.”

Still, Kajiura said those who encounter a great white shark should feel lucky (seeing them in nature is like “winning the lottery,” he said) but should get out of the water.

"Just because he's inches above these small sharks doesn't mean that there's not a big one down there as well," Kajiura told GMA.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Feeding a black bear by hand comes with serious consequences

Two men hand feed a black bear rice cakes on Vancouver Island

Back in April, two men fed a black bear rice cakes alongside Highway 4 near Torfino on Vancouver Island and videotaped part of their hijinks, which they put onto social media.

The public outcry was immediate with many Canadians saying a fed bear is a dead bear.

“It is illegal to feed dangerous wildlife because it’s extremely dangerous for both the public and that bear,” Port Alberni conservation officer Daniel Eichstadter told CTV News Vancouver in May. “It may expect food from somebody else who stops and injure somebody that way.

“It’s putting everybody and that animal at risk and the best thing to do is show that animal some respect and give it some space. View it from afar and don’t put other people and that animal at risk.”

Thanks for several tips, the Canadian authorizes managed to track down the two men and this week they faced the consequences of their actions.

The unidentified men were charged with intentionally feeding dangerous wildlife under the BC Wildlife Act and each were fined $345, according to CTV News.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Bear shows motherly instincts when cubs get swept down Brooks Falls

A bear cam at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park in Alaska caught a poignant moment when a mother bear came to the rescue of its three cubs, or came to their side for a scolding is probably more like it.

A brown bear known as Grazer was standing atop Brooks Falls looking downstream waiting for a salmon to jump into its range. Bears typically catch the jumping salmon in their teeth.

But when Grazer looked to her left, she saw one of her three cubs get swept over the falls. And when another headed down the falls, Grazer did what mothers do. She went to her children’s aid:

A third cub also went over the falls, but all of them were OK.

Explore.org, which operates the bear cam at Brooks Falls in concert with Katmai National Park, wrote this on its Facebook post: “And the Mother of the Year award goes to … Grazer!!!”

Well deserved.  

h/t Washington Post 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

‘The gun didn’t kill my boy. I did,’ father says of tragedy at gun range

A father who regularly took his kids to an indoor shooting range and taught them gun safety is grieving the death of his son after a freak accident that occurred while taking target practice in Sarasota, Florida, on Sunday afternoon.

William Clayton Brumby, 64, accidentally shot his 14-year-old son, Stephen Brumby, who was transported to Sarasota Memorial hospital where he died of his injuries, according to WFTS and CNN.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday that no charges are pending against the father, CNN reported. 

The incident occurred at the High Noon Gun Shop and gun range where the father of seven had taken three of his children, including 24-year-old David and a 12-year-old daughter, as he did routinely once or twice a month.

“We wanted our kids to be aware of guns,” Clayton Brumby told CNN. “I wanted them to be comfortable around them and understand them.”

The accident happened at 3:15 p.m. when Clayton fired a round at a target. The hot shell casing bounced off the wall and fell into the back of his shirt, the sheriff’s office told CNN.

While trying to remove the casing, Clayton reached behind his back with the hand that was holding the gun and inadvertently pulled the trigger. The round hit the ceiling and ricocheted down and hit his son.

“The gun didn’t kill my boy. I did,” he told CNN. “Every round in the gun is your responsibility. When it fires you need to stand to account for it. That’s what I’ve spent the last two days doing, accounting for my operating error…

“It was a freak accident, I made a mistake.

“It doesn't take but a split second for something to go wrong and that could be [the case] with a gun, it could be with the wrong medicine, it could be with any number of things.”

David Brumby also called it a freak accident.

“No matter how calm you try to stay, there’s no way to wipe the images away from your mind of your little brother bleeding out in your arms,” David told WFTS. 

John Buchan, the co-owner of the gun shop, told WFTS he couldn’t have prevented the tragedy even if he had been standing right next to him, adding that “there was a freak breakdown in the personal safety of owning and operating a firearm that never should’ve happened.”

Clayton and the family were relying on their faith to get them through the tragic ordeal.

“I can’t fix this,” he told CNN. “It’s just a great loss, but thankfully we’ll see him [again] someday.”

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Yosemite firefall appears to be flowing lava on shoulder of El Capitan

Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called firewall at Yosemite.
Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called firefall at Yosemite.
Photo by 

In a stunning phenomenon, Horsetail Fall in Yosemite only looks as if it is on fire or flowing lava down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan.

The popular illusion occurs only in February and conditions must be just right—setting sun, flowing waterfall, clear skies—or the Yosemite firefall, as it is referred to, could be a dud.

For several photographers, however, conditions have been favorable this month as evidenced by the striking photos by Instagram user Shank0205 and Sangeeta Day.

“It’s the way the sun happens to hit that causes the waterfall to glow in such a way,” Yosemite National Park ranger Ashley Mayer told CNN.

For Day, she realized how lucky she was to be there when conditions were perfect and to capture the firefall in full bloom.

“I’ve met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen two or three times,” Day wrote on Facebook.

“The phenomenon was supposed to happen at around 5:30 in the evening, but I was there at 2 p.m. to find a spot. I finally settled for a tiny space under a thorny bush. When the fall started glowing, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

“For 10 minutes, all of us sat there mesmerized by this spectacle. When it ended, a few of us had tears in our eyes. Some people were clapping. And others were just ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it after trying for years.”
Sangeeta Day took this image of Yosemite firefall and posted it on Facebook

Day’s image of the Yosemite firefall was shared by Bay Area media and other outlets, but Shank0205 might have produced the best of the bunch.

“This is quite honestly the best shot I've seen in a LONG time,” Garrett Hoyer wrote on Shank0205’s Instagram page. “This is someplace I want to go badly!”

Replied Shank0205, “This was my first visit to Yosemite and I’m happy I got to witness this beautiful work of nature.”

So when’s the best time to view this work of nature called Yosemite firefall? The Yosemite National Park website said middle-to-late February is optimal.

“However,” the Yosemite website wrote, “the effect depends on conditions for the year, and photographers may be luckier before or after that time frame depending on the amount of water flow in Horsetail Fall, and the cloud cover.”

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Great white shark attacks shark cage with lightning speed

A great white shark rammed a shark cage with lightning speed in the famous shark-diving locale of Gansbaai, South Africa, recently, giving divers an adrenalin rush they won't soon forget.

Spencer Reilly, an American on his honeymoon, captured the scary, heart-stopping video and posted it on YouTube:

As is custom with shark-diving operations, the great white shark was lured toward the cage with bait, which was being pulled away from the fast-charging shark.

“That should not have happened really, they don’t like the shark to get too close to the cage, but there was low visibility and the shark came at the bait extremely fast,” Reilly told 9News.

“It was not too scary because it happened so fast, and then it was pretty exhilarating.”

It is encounters such as this one that keeps luring tourists to the adventure. 

Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, one of several shark-diving operators in the region, described the shark-diving it offers off South Africa:

“Gansbaai is a small coastal town a short two hour scenic drive from Cape Town which has earned itself the title of Great White Capital of the world. With Great White Sharks inhabiting the area for 12 months of the year, going Shark Diving in Gansbaai is a year round adventure not to be missed.”

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Great white shark attacks shark cage, attempts to eat it

Mossel Bay in South Africa is a popular destination for shark cage divers to get up close and personal with great white sharks, but Hillary Petroski got more than she bargained for when a great white shark attempted to eat the cage she was in.

Somehow, with a shaky hand, Petroski managed to capture the scary footage of the great white shark, which she said was closer than it appears:

“The round buoy attached to the side of the cage was bent in half,” she told Jukin Media, according to GrindTV. “Some of the lining of the outside blue barrier bar was bitten through as well.

“We saw roughly eight different sharks, some multiple times, in the 30 minutes we were down. It was my first time diving with sharks and it was quite the up-close-and-personal experience!”

Fortunately, the great white shark gave up and swam away, leaving behind a few scary memories.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Crocodile misses out on dinner—twice—due to elusive prey

Twice, a crocodile in a river in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia had dinner right at the tip of its nose, only to be denied by the quick reflexes of its prey.

Crocodiles are ambush predators that use the water to sneak up on unsuspecting prey, in this case a warthog and an antelope, both quenching their thirst at a local watering hole. But not for long. Watch the split-second elusiveness of the animals:

Amazingly, the warthog did a quick sidestep and raced off. The antelope, aka a bushbuck, sprung backwards to escape the snapping jaws of the crocodile, which has a bite more powerful than a great white shark.

This time the crocodile went hungry, but we suspect it eventually filled its belly. 

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