Update (7/26/11 at 10:07pm): I blew this story. Initial reports indicated that Penny Palfrey's support team killed three sharks while she made her record-breaking trip between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman. Those reports are FALSE, Penny's team didn't kill any sharks-- three were hooked and towed away but were released without harm after being moved a safe distance from Penny.
I apologize to Penny Palfrey and her team for getting this one wrong. I'm sorry.
My incorrect story follows in
Last month 48 year old swimmer Penny Palfrey spend nearly 41 hours in the water swimming 67 miles between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman, setting a world record for a solo unassisted ocean swim. In the process her team killed three sharks; two of them were endangered Oceanic whitetips. Her support team carried a shark repellent that used electrical pulses to keep sharks away but they still felt the need to kill three out of the four sharks they saw on the trip. The way they did was fairly brutal- they lured them away with fish, hooked them with a hook and line, and then chopped them to death with a machete.
Oceanic Whitetip sharks are critically endangered in parts of the Atlantic ocean and has seen its numbers drop as high as 99% due to sport and commercial fishing. And now, the support crew for a record driven swimmer.
It's shameful and it sullies Penny's record. Any neanderthal can bully their way through nature, killing anything that proves inconvenient. Where is the honor in that? Where is the honor of pillaging through the ocean in pursuit of something as ultimately ethereal as a world record?
Penny has shark blood on her record. For shame.
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