This is just not right

Stop it! Some misguided people are killing stingrays in apparent retribution for the death of Steve Irwin.

A fisheries department official says up to ten of the normally docile fish have been found dead and mutilated on Australia’s eastern coast since Steve Irwin was killed by one last week. At least two had their tails lopped off.

As the article goes on to say, this is the antithesis of what a conservationist like Irwin would have wanted.


  1. Pete says

    I predicted this would happen (if, indeed, there has been a spike in stingray mutilaition) but alas, did not make my prediction public. So all I can say is it doesn’t surprise me.

  2. says

    If we yield the Great Barrier Reef to stingrays, that will only embolden the stingrays and give them the idea that we’re soft on their alien ways of life.

  3. Alyssa Sison says

    Wow, some people are just crazy killing those stingrays off. I do miss Steve Irwin, though…

  4. JDaley says

    I just heard about this on the BBC news on NPR. My wife and I immediately hollered at each other that this is appalling, and exactly what Steve Irwin wouldn’t have wanted; he’d have been appalled as well.

  5. Evan says

    I don’t want to minimize or excuse the idiocy of this, but… well, at least they got the right species. If it’d been Americans, we probably would’ve started a war against, I dunno, hammerhead sharks or something.

  6. jbark says

    If a country of some 20 million people kills 10 stingrays as its response to a national level event, they’re doing pretty damn good. On any given day there’s far more random weirdness than that, I’d assume.

    We, on the other hand, practically had a national meltdown over some pop star’s exposed booby.

  7. BlueIndependent says

    valhar2000 has a point, but I will say that for my part, after the announcement of Steve’s death, I did find it odd that the nightly news had all kinds of video loops of rays swimming around and generally being rays. It seemed almost like they were gonig for the ominous angle, implying something onto these gentle cretures that was not true.

    They showed people huddled around aquariums with rays the day after the announcement, and i’m just thinking “why the hell is this news beyond Steve’s death?” It’s definitely true that certain things dont get in the news until they effect themselves upon popular people.

  8. jim says

    Well, stingrays and sharks are related. (Damn, I missed that booby.) It makes no sense; stingrays are only doing what stingrays do. There isn’t a war between stingrays and people. So if he had been killed while working on his car we should then destroy cars? Those idiots.

  9. SEF says

    I predicted this would happen

    I saw someone else post just such a prediction in advance. So, since that wasn’t you, there’s at least one other person not surprised at the possibility that this might happen and have been misguided revenge.

  10. says

    I was having an argument with my brother about this over IM. He’ not a Steve Irwin fan, so he was pointing out how big of morons his fans are. I was saying that no one who understood what Irwin was about would do something like this – that it was the opposite of what he stood for.

  11. tacitus says

    I doubt the attacks are out of revenge, they are simply the result of some idiots with an utterly misplaced sense of machismo.

  12. Krakus says

    Reminds me of the Asian practice of de-finning live sharks, tossing them back in the ocean and letting them die. Mmmmm….I’m gald the fin that went into my soup was worth killing a whole 30-60kg shark.

    Human beings know no limits to their barbarity.

  13. Aerik says

    Oh, what the fuck, I think as I read this article. And yet, this kind of behavior is a natural conclusion of all idolotry (a form of idiocy).

  14. Diego says

    I’ve got to admit to being a trifle skeptical. It sounds like patented slow news day fabrication. The journalists might even think they had an actual phenomenon not realizing that the killings were normal background deaths due to callous anglers (it’s a pain to safely throw back sting rays). If there has been an increase in stingrays being killed by humans then that is suggestive, although the old correlation =/ causation adage still applies.

    On the other hand it shows just enough mindless knee-jerk behavior to be a real human reaction.

  15. says

    Completely unrelated, but I thought you should be prepared as it didn’t get the news in english yet.

    Today on his last mass in Germany the pope smashed scientists who did not believe in God, who, since the enlightment, have applied thmeselves in seeking an explanation of the world in which God would be unnecessary.

    And said evolution is irrational and a load of related crap.

  16. Phobos says

    revenge on stingrays…yeah, that will teach ’em. If anything, it’s artificial selection promoting stronger, more aggressive stingrays (assuming the 10 they caught were easy pickings). ;)

  17. Buffalo Gal says

    palmira – do you have a link? The NY Times only reports he spoke against secularization generally. I thought that, like JPII, Ben supported science as long as we allow that God is the cause of it all.

  18. says

    Buffalo Gal:

    I have loads of links, mainly from brazilian sites. In portuguese. None in english, but the mass was only a few hours ago. I think it will pop out in no time…

  19. says

    B. Gal

    I think the article about papa RATzi’s mass on NYTimes was about the one on sunday, when he deplored this abominable secularism that drives european governments to «waste» good money in social projects, money that should go to the «evangelization» programs of the Catholic Church. Mainly in Africa.

    Besides saying that only faith can cure AIDS…

    and, of course, that condoms are not a solution (or an option). And they are not in the catholic hospitals and the like ( more than 25% of the AIDS centers around the world) funded with our money, directly or indirectly. Actually in some of them in Africa the priests are saying that condoms are laced with HIV virus…

  20. says

    I heard about this, as well, but I thought I had heard as well that this did not represent a significant increase in the rate of stringray deaths due to human activity.

    If there was a genuine increase, then I’m inclined to agree with tacitus that the more likely explanation than revenge is simple machismo: “Look at me, I’m so hardcore, killing some docile sea life!”

  21. says

    With any luck, this is probably like – two – idiots, and they will both get nailed by stingray barbs. And we can laugh our asses off while they writhe in agony.

  22. craig says

    Well, at least you can’t call them procrastinators – they got an early start on their revenge.

    I saw them killing stingrays by the dozen 20 years ago on the battery in Charleston, S.C., cutting their tails off and tossing them aside.

    Multitaskers, too. While they were at their pre-emptive revenge they whiled away the time with some fishing.

  23. says

    I have a link to the Pope. He says that evolution is “unreasonable.”

    I actually got to pet a (nonlethal) stringray while on vacation in San Francisco, at the aquarium. They seem quite docile. I can’t imagine what people are thinking. Has nearly everybody gone crazy?

  24. Alex says

    I mean come on. That’s what they do. They are not called “hug-rays” or “smootch-rays”, they are called STING rays. Get too close and guess what happens!?

  25. Jimbo says

    Well Alex, generally if you get too close to stringrays…they swim away.

    If you step on them (which is how people commonly get stung) they reflexively squirm away and “sting” people. They aren’t aggressive at all.

    What pisses me off about the coverage of Irwin’s death is the yahoos who say “see, that’s what you get for getting too close to wild animals”. Well, yeah, but far more dogs kill people every year (which is to say more than zero) and no one says “that’s what you get for hanging around dogs”. It’s actually ironic that Irwin was killed by such a docile animal given his frequent interactions with genuinely dangerous wildlife.

  26. Buffalo Gal says

    Thanks, palmira and Kristine. It does seem the Church is retreating from the mushy-reasonable position that evolution is true but God put it in motion, to a frankly IDist one. I wonder if they’re hoping to snag some fundamentalists into the Church.

    And, yes, nearly everyone has gone crazy.

  27. Krakus says

    And this after JPII said in 1996: “Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.”

    Two steps forward…

  28. says

    I’ve heard the theory that it’s not for revenge – it’s for profit. People are apparently selling stingray barbs as mementoes or souvenirs. Which is even worse.

  29. Alex says


    I totally agree. The answer to the question in my post, at least in my mind, is that one’s chances of getting poked in the heart only slightly increase….unless you have really really bad luck. Crikey!

  30. Chris says

    It’s actually ironic that Irwin was killed by such a docile animal given his frequent interactions with genuinely dangerous wildlife.

    At the risk of indulging in 20/20 hindsight, I don’t think it’s that surprising. Irwin was very careful around dangerous animals. He knew how dangerous they were, how they were dangerous and what to do about it.

    Only a non-dangerous (well, maybe I should say LESS dangerous) animal could have caught him off guard.

    When you anticipate and prepare against all the reasonably likely dangers of whatever you’re doing, then it’s the freakishly unlikely scenarios that (taken collectively, of course) become the real remaining danger.

  31. says

    Buffalo Gal said:

    I wonder if they’re hoping to snag some fundamentalists into the Church.

    B.G., what is there to snag? The Church is already a den of fundies! The moment Vatican opens its mouth, that truth comes out. And where it doesn’t, it still manages to convey complicity in silence.

    And, yes, nearly everyone has gone crazy.

    I could not agree more! What is up with this revenge/retribution thing by these self-righteous idiots, these self-appointed judge-jury-executioners? Or is it just a demonstration of bravado by tormenting poor stingrays which have come under an unfortunate spotlight?

  32. Jimbo says

    I recently drove from Fairbanks AK to Manley Hot Springs, about 160 miles down a hardpacked dirt road. The forest is dark and deep the entire distance and I marveled at the wilderness just feet from my car, miles and miles from “civilization”. We saw exactly 4 other vehicles in the 5 hours it took us to drive there. Strangely I was really freaked out.

    Where I live in San Diego I regularly swim in the ocean. Often I spend my lunch hour surfing before heading back to work. In a very real sense I venture into the deep and dark and hostile wilderness virtually every single day, a far more dangerous and foreboding wilderness than any forest, 12000 miles from civilization – or 300 yards back to my car and a quick visit to Taco Bell, if I have the time.

    Perspective is an interesting thing.

  33. Buffalo Gal says

    suirauqa – American Catholics are not by and large fundies. In fact, JPII complained about “cafeteria catholics” who choose which rules to follow. Most American Catholics have no problem with birth control and divorce, for example. Apparently the Aisians and Africans Ben speaks so warmly of have different ideas. I was vaguely thinking that the Church was seeing a possibility of increasing its influence by aligning with the American fundies.

  34. says

    Damn, I missed that booby.

    wasn’t much to miss, physically or temporally? that leads me to want to wax poetic, like asking in song “How shall we measure the size of a booby, volumetrically or in projected area?”

    but i won’t.

  35. Mark Hubbell says

    Just to get a discussion going, can someone tell me why it is wrong for people to kill those stingrays?