Getting Past Steve Irwin

The recent record-breaking catch of a giant freshwater stingray in the Maeklong River of Thailand has the internets abuzzing. Unfortunately the big deal of the catch is being passed over in favor of dramatization and references to Steve Irwin. And what is the big deal aside from the female ray’s huge size (770lbs, 7 foot disc span, with a 10 ft tail)? The biologist who caught her on rod and reel was involved in a tagging project with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). IUCN currently red lists the giant freshwater stingray as vulnerable but the size of the population is unknown within its river systems.

While we could be emphasizing the need for surveys and studies and discussing the impact that pollution, habitat contraction, and fishing has had on these giants we are instead focused on Steve Irwin’s demise by stingray barb. But it wasnt just the barb. Irwin’s choices unfortunately put him in a lethal situation on that day. I think I’ve hit my limit in tolerating this constant Irwin issue. I’m positive that this fear of rays is the last thing he wanted to leave as his legacy.

Which prompts a thought: Dear Discovery Channel, any chance we can have a whole day for elasmobranch cousins this coming Shark Week 2009? It seems the rays could use a broadcast days’ worth of diffusing myths and unfortunate incidents more than the sharks right now.

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3 Comments to “Getting Past Steve Irwin”

  1. OMG that is a brilliant idea! Elasmo-day during shark week! I think Discovery should take notice!!

    I mean, you could get Dave Salmoni diving shirtless with some manta rays, or swimming shirtless with some shallow water rays… or, you know, Dave Salmoni just shirtless, and have it have something to do with rays…

  2. Hi,
    Great blog…
    I believe Steve Irwin himself would have been upset at his death taking attention away from his beloved wildlife. We all hope our causes will be our legacy…not our deaths.

    Yeah! Let’s get Discovery to start “Ray Week” or “Octopus Week!”
    Joelle

  3. I have had some support for this idea from other people so I’m about to draft a letter to Discovery to try to get them to add a program or two about rays for the 2010 Shark Week. (I imagine its too close for the 2009 edition.) Maybe we dont need a ray day on Shark Week.. maybe we need a Myths and Misconceptions Week for Wildlife on Discovery!