Saturday, May 24, 2008

Feeding a Predator... Does it Turn Us Into Prey?

This cute little guy is a Black-Crowned Night Heron. He is a predator that eats fish, hunting all day long.

This particular heron is my buddy. He spends his days waiting for a hand-out at the boat launch near Mote Marine, frequented by fisherman who will give him a bit of their catch. (I must say his cute little eyes are hard to say no to.) I constantly see people feed him – in fact I saw someone throw him a fish half his size today.

He has definitely become accustomed to people in that he is not afraid to be near them, as he sits on the docks evaluating each boat to determine if they may be his next meal ticket. He is very smart, and knows exactly who has fish for him. He never gets too close nor does he view the fisherman for anything other than what they are: easy suppliers of food.

Oddly, though, no one is afraid that feeding this Heron is going to make him more likely to senselessly attack them, voraciously addicted to the food that they give to him. It is unfathomable that this bird, who is being fed fish on a daily basis by fisherman, could or would possibly put the same fisherman on his menu. Or attack them confusing the fishermen for his real food source – fish.

So why on earth do we think sharks, who are far more intelligent than this heron and, like this heron, do not have us on their menu, would?

It makes absolutely no sense.

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