Mad River Union
ARCATA, APRIL 1 – Recent efforts to re-introduce indigenous animal species locally may have backfired.
The trend began not in eco-groovy Arcata, but McKinleyville, where the Friends of Widow White Creek were able to re-establish a colony of Eye-Sucking Lampreys, an aquatic species able to propel themselves out of the water for distances of up to 50 feet, where they suck the eyeballs out of passersby.
The lamprey’s return has had many positive benefits, creek activists report, pointing to the swelling membership in McKinleyville’s Low Vision Support Group.
Arcata jumps the shark
Not to be outdone, Arcata picked up on the idea and re-introduced Grizzly bears to the Arcata Community Forest. Other than that group of first graders on a field trip, impacts were surprisingly few.
Arcata Main Street did its part by releasing wolves on the Plaza during the Farmers’ Market.
While scaring off human users, the return of the wild predators the municipally-owned woodland sparked a resurgence of other wildlife there, from opossums to skunks.
That, in turn, has led oceangoing creatures – some whose food supply has been disrupted by ocean acidification and climate change – to come ashore in search of the tasty delights now scampering about the landscape.
An unintended consequence of the abundant fauna befell City of Arcata GIS Specialist Brian Kang last week, when he suffered a shark attack at his City Hall desk.
“I was updating a topo map when I felt teeth sinking into my leg,” Kang said from his bed at Mad River Community Hospital. “At first I thought it might be a particularly aggressive panhandler, so I reached for some pocket change.”
But when he looked down, Kang couldn’t help but notice that a nine-foot Great White shark had clamped its jaws on his left leg.
Unfortunately, while staggering around to his various co-workers’ offices to show off the “new sidekick” affixed to him, the proud GIS specialist reached down to pet his new aquatic appendage when the surly shark took another chunk out of his right hand.
After a while, Kang began to feel weak from blood loss and went to the hospital.
All stitched up but bed-bound for the time being, Kang was restless, and eager to get away from landbound shark danger and return to the safety of the ocean on his surfboard.
“This bites,” he said. “Get it?”