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Eat Or Be Eaten

Eat Or Be Eaten

December 2006: The ultimate rule of the sea is stark: “eat or be eaten.”


Sharks, orcas, saltwater crocodiles, leopard seals and moray eels are among the most recognisable ocean predators. Morays like this one haunt the shallows of tropical and subtropical seas, living lonesome lives in rock or coral crannies until hunger drives them to launch quick, brutal attacks on bite-sized prey.


Special Mention: Sanctuary-Abn Amro Wildlife Photography Awards 2006 – Sumer Verma 


Scuba divers are drawn to morays, quite like land-roving tourists are to tigers. And because some morays live in favourite lairs for years, individuals can achieve a legendary status, like Lenny, the moray who lives in Lakshadweep’s Shallow Point, just off Bangaram Island.


Lulled into carelessness, some divers have lost fingers to the eels, while others will carry signature scars from moray teeth to their graves. But the “eat or be eaten” rule is complicated… and transient. This moray’s teeth confirm its indisputable eater status (the blue-striped cleaner wrasse is left unharmed because the much smaller fish rids the moray of irritating parasites). But, as ecologists will readily confirm, a predator can quickly turn into prey when a larger moray or shark does its rounds. And when morays die, a host of creatures smaller than themselves will feast on their mortal remains.


And so the circle of life goes on.


Being underwater is among the most comforting feelings in the world. I absolutely love diving. And like most divers, I love morays too – all 80 species that swim the oceans. My love has stood the test of time and never withered moments after my last dive. I wish this were also true of the finning millions who descend on dive destinations across the world. This scuba and snorkel army could potentially turn the tide in favour of the planet’s threatened corals, beaches, mangroves and estuaries. But for this we need visionary leaders to motivate divers – and the even larger number who enjoy wild places overland – to change the way humanity perceives its place on the planet. Live sex cams and adult porn free chat . Dirtyroulette is an anonymous nude cam site for random sex chat with thousands of naked girls and guys


Like the moray, humans are indisputably eaters. We ‘eat’ wild animals and the forests in which they live. Powerful as we may seem, nevertheless, the ‘circle of life’ syndrome hovers perpetually over us. Though we eat today, the shoe will almost certainly be on the other foot with our species feeding the fish, if we continue to chip away at our ecological foundation for much longer.


Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXVI No. 6, December 2006


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