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53 “I have done a few stupid things and fortunately the animals have not behaved as expected. I made the animals uncomfortable, and as soon as I rectified the situation, they calmed down a bit. They have very distinctive personalities – more distinctive than humans.” The next day Mike charters a dhow in search of the elusive dugongs and we dive into the sandy waters, quietly observing a mother and calf chewing sea grass in the middle of the estuary. So what does Mike think of reports that shark attacks have increased recently? “I think that what we need to do is stop being emotional and start analysing the attacks. Don’t say it’s an unprovoked attack, and that’s Follow Mike at www.facebook.com/MikeRutzen and on Instagram at @MIKERUTZEN. Visit www.sharkdivingunlimited.com and www.facebook.com/Sharksafebarrier for updates on his conservation work. Details on Shark Diving Unlimited can be found at www.sharkdivingunlimited.com, or call tel 082-441-4555. LEFT: A rare cycad known to date from prehistoric times has caught Mike’s eye. ABOVE: Tropical fare is sold along the roadside. it. That’s stupid, because that’s not true. We need to analyse attacks in a forensic manner and identify what caused that specific animal to have a physical negative encounter with that specific human on that day. Once we have that infomation, hopefully, if we can change our behaviour, they will too. These animals are not out there to hunt us. We, through our own stupidity, do not want to take the time and the expertise to find out why,” he says. “I haven’t done anything with great whites that the animals don’t allow me to do. It is an honour that they allow me to do that. The documentaries we make show the animals the way they really are; the truth. Hopefully in the documentaries, we can make great whites ambassadors for themselves.” MIKE BEGAN FREEDIVING WITH SHARKS MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, WHILE RUNNING HIS CAGE-DIVING BUSINESS IN GANSBAAI TRAVELZONE


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