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Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death

Posted By: Marty

Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 03:47 PM

The dead stingrays have been found with their tails cut off (Mike Hutchings/Reuters)

Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death
By Devika Bhat and agencies

At least ten stingrays have been found dead and mutilated on Australiaís eastern coast in the last week in what conservationists believe could be revenge attacks for the death of Steve Irwin, the popular naturalist and television personality.

Irwin, known by his fans as the "Crocodile Hunter", was killed last Monday when a stingray barb pierced his chest as he filmed a new TV programme off the Great Barrier Reef. His death triggered an outpouring of grief in Australia and among thousands of admirers worldwide.

But now it is feared that fans' mourning has taken a new focus: stingray rage.

The dead stingrays have been discovered on two beaches in Queensland state, where Mr Irwin lived and ran his popular wildlife park, Australia Zoo. Two of the unfortunate rays, discovered today, were retrieved with their tails lopped off, according to local fishery officials.

Michael Hornby, a friend of Mr Irwin and executive director of his conservation group Wildlife Warriors, said he was concerned that the rays, which are usually docile creatures, were being hunted and killed in retaliation for Irwin's death, which he said, would go against everything that the television star had stood for.

"It may be some sort of retribution, or it may be fear from certain individuals, or it just may be yet another callous act toward wildlife," he said.

"We are disgusted and disappointed that people would take this sort of action to hurt wildlife. We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who has taken a form of retribution. Thatís the last thing Steve would want."

"Stingrays are beautiful creatures and play an important role for the environment. I hope everyone understands we have to protect wildlife now more than ever. This is what Steve was all about."

Stingrays are usually shy, unobtrusive fish that rummage along the sea bottom for food or burrow into the sand. When stepped on or otherwise frightened, a serrated spine up to 25cm (10 inches) long in the animalís tail flares up.

The spines emit toxins that can kill small creatures and cause excruciating pain in humans. Few people die from the poison, but the spines can badly tear flesh and the wounds are prone to infections, including tetanus.

Rick Symons, government fisheries manager of animal welfare, said that officials were investigating the matter and warned that offenders could be prosecuted if evidence of cruelty was found.

Wayne Sumpton, from the state fisheries department, said there had been reports of similar incidents in the past after fishermen had inadvertently caught stingrays and cut off their tails to avoid being stung, but such incidents were not common and were not condoned by the authorities.

Meanwhile, Irwin's admirers appear also to be using technology to avenge the death of the daredevil star.

A website has created a game called Terri Irwin's Revenge, depicting the naturalist's wife firing at stingrays underwater. The aim of the game, which is being circulated via e-mail, is to kill as many stingrays as possible without getting hit, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

However, the game has been receiving mixed responses from online visitors. "We should make it clear, this game is intended to be a memorial and NOT a funny parody," say its creators, who go by the names of Josh Tuttle, -altr- and Onic, on the website mofunzone.com

Mr Irwin was buried last week in the grounds of his zoo at a private ceremony after his family turned down the offer of a state funeral. A public memorial service will be held next week.

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10 stingrays killed since Irwin's death
Updated 9/12/2006 7:51 AM ET E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe to stories like this Subscribe to stories like this
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) ó At least 10 stingrays have been killed since "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin was fatally injured by one of the fish, an official said Tuesday, prompting a spokesman for the late TV star's animal charity to urge people not take revenge on the animals.

Irwin died last week after a stingray barb pierced his chest as he recorded a show off the Great Barrier Reef.

Stingray bodies since have been discovered on two beaches in Queensland state on Australia's eastern coast. Two were discovered Tuesday with their tails lopped off, state fisheries department official Wayne Sumpton said.

Sumpton said fishermen who inadvertently catch the diamond-shaped rays sometimes cut off their tails to avoid being stung, but the practice was uncommon. Stingrays often are caught in fishing nets by mistake and should be returned to the sea, Sumpton said.

Michael Hornby, the executive director of Irwin's Wildlife Warriors conservation group, said he was concerned the rays were being hunted and killed in retaliation for Irwin's death.

"It may be some sort of retribution, or it may be fear from certain individuals, or it just may be yet another callous act toward wildlife," he said.

He said killing stingrays was "not what Steve was about."

"We are disgusted and disappointed that people would take this sort of action to hurt wildlife," he said.

Stingrays are usually shy, unobtrusive fish that rummage the sea bottom for food or burrow into the sand.

They have a serrated spine up to 10 inches long on their tails, which they can lash when stepped on or otherwise frightened.

The spines emit toxins that can kill many small creatures and cause excruciating pain in humans. Few people have died from the poison, but the spines can badly tear flesh and the wounds are prone to infections, including tetanus.

Hornby said people should treat stingrays with caution, but "there is still no need to ... kill or mutilate these important animals."
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 03:55 PM

You can not fix stupid!!!!!!!!!!!To quote forrest gump stupid is as stupid Does.
Posted By: divingcowgirl

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 04:04 PM

Jimminy Christmas guys......how retarded can you get? :rolleyes: People out there killing these beautiful creatures for no reason other than being stupid. Geeze....
Posted By: JZB

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 05:07 PM

After the article in this weeks paper, this is the same thing I fear for the Bull sharks around the reef.
Posted By: captjeff

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 05:22 PM

Ya think!!!!!!!!!!!!it will open war on sharks,A shame..
Posted By: MALIBU

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/12/06 06:05 PM

Oh My God. I CANNOT believe this. mad :rolleyes:
Posted By: Grace

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/15/06 07:25 PM

This is a joke, right?
Posted By: Wyoming Carla

Re: Fears of revenge attacks on stingrays over Irwin death - 09/15/06 07:41 PM

I've gained new respect....but to kill one is just ludicrous. You are in THEIR territory. Just don't screw with them....just like the grizzley's here in Wyoming....leave them ALONE. If you are in their space, expect to be under fire. If they attack you, that's different. Ray's don't attack!
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