I've noticed that the news headlines this month seem to be filled with stories about people battling wild animals. Why is this so "in" right now? It seems bizarre, but I think it's a clear trend; and one that simply suggests the timeless war between men and beasts isn't over. Those thumb-less little bastards just won't quit.

So, here's a collection of recent stories that offer an abstract to the conflict.

The battles we're winning:


With the recession, fewer Americans are taking vacations at the beach. A MSNBC / LiveScience report suggests that as a direct result, the annual rate of shark attacks was at a five-year low in 2008. So clearly, half the battle is making ourselves less available for eating. The other half of the battle is to show these sharks who's boss...

Not fucking around
  • Not fucking around

This MSNBC Photoblog entry by Reuters photographer Feisal Omar is a piece of commentary on Mogadishu, Somalia, which is arguably the most dangerous city on Earth. Now, sharks are afraid of Mogadishu. That's a win for humanity. I guess.

Here are a bunch of people who not only beat sharks in confrontation, but still like sharks enough to support their existence (which is great PR for humans). One of these guys even got away by punching the shark in the face and wrenching its jaws open with his bare hands. Win-and-a-half.

The battles we're losing:


Five Peruvian children were killed by rabid, horrible vampire bats this month.


A rabid fox pup attacked a dog and two officers in Weymouth, Mass. last week. It's cuteness probably lured locals into a false sense of security. Animals do that.

The battles where it's pretty much a tie:


In a spectacular human victory, a Montana woman defeated a 200-pound black bear with a zucchini squash, Wednesday.

But in a near-tragic loss (right in our backyard), a Bellevue, Wash. city councilman was mauled in the face on Friday.


A school crossing guard in Oldsmar, Fla. called the cops on a seven-foot alligator chilling out on the sidewalk near a public school. The gator was promptly lassoed and handcuffed by Sheriff's deputies for comic effect.

But in less positive news, last week, a well-intentioned animal rescuer nearly lost his remaining arm to an unappreciative gator. (He was already missing one arm when he was horribly burned while rescuing baby birds from an electric fence).

We will persevere.