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Fatal shark attack stirs fears and memories

May 2, 2008 | 11:24 am

White_sharks

A week after a fatal shark attack off Solana Beach in Southern California gripped media attention, The Times' Pete Thomas offers his perspective on the matter in today's Outdoors column in the Sports section.

He sums up the conflict in this excerpt:

White sharks do not seek human flesh. Their chief roles, as adults, are to subsist on elephant seals and make baby sharks.

Their primary haunts, when they're not mingling in the mid-Pacific each winter and spring, are elephant seal rookeries off Northern California and Mexico's Guadalupe Island.

On the other hand, says Chris Lowe, a shark specialist at Long Beach State, "This is not a Disneyland ride. People have to assume the risks when they go into the ocean."

Thomas' view offers some balance between the dangers we Southern Californians face out of the water versus the very occasional risk ... of a shark attack.

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

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