17-12-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
With the return of mass tourism to Watamu and Malindi, the imbecile fashions are also returning, favoured on the one hand by the ignorance and unsuitability of the local population for the protection of Nature, and on the other by the superficiality of tourists from the so-called civilised world, who sometimes show that they have very little to teach those who, for their own fault, for the most part have not been unconsciously left behind on certain things.
This is the case of the idiot habit of taking "selfies" with the starfish.
The enthusiasm of seeing them at sea, enjoying the beauty of their colours, even being able to touch them in the water, is all well and good.
We can also understand that no one is "born learned" and that we may not be aware of the particularities of tropical-equatorial marine species.
But that, thanks to their submissiveness, they are taken out of their natural environment, held in their hands and over their whole body for taking pictures, is really absurd. It would suffice the doubt, the scruple to inquire about the characteristics and the dangers it runs once extracted from the water.
The asteroidea (commonly called starfish) when it comes out of the water incorporates a quantity of oxygen much greater than its needs, so much so that it can not get rid of it and is likely to die suffocated, if it is not put in the water after a few seconds.
Keeping her out to take pictures, and maybe handing her over for a while, is tantamount to killing her.
After a few minutes the starfish shrinks slowly and there is nothing more to do.
For such a particular species, ancient and wonderful, already very sensitive to climate change and pollution, the ignorance combined with the carelessness of tourists is the "blow of grace".
During the Christmas holidays, even to a "beach boy", to impress a group of Italian tourists, came the criminal idea (in good faith, certainly, but by complaint) to compose a Christmas tree on the beach with at least 40 starfish.
And the crazy thing is to see hundreds of photographs of tourists ecstatic or intrigued by the insulting "work of art".
Another specimen in danger for really stupid games and endorsed by our ineptitude hilarious, is the puffer fish.
The fact that it swells once taken in hand and put out of water, is not a circus number, but a kind of self-defense that costs this fish species a great deal of stress. Ten "selfie" swellings are enough and the puffer fish can die.
Let's be aware that "vacation" does not mean the destruction of the sea, already undermined by tanning creams, plastic, forgotten flip-flops and trash thrown from ships on the high seas.
And also that we are in Africa, where often the local population has no knowledge of these things, and is not in the habit of respecting the environment in all its aspects.
by Freddie del Curatolo
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