x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Shark out of water

Never mind "jumping the shark." Last week a shark did the jumping, propelling itself into a research boat in South African waters. Such quirky animal stories make us fear the news itself is jumping the shark

When the Fonz, in the fifth season of US television show Happy Days, jumped over a shark while waterskiing, it marked a watershed moment in the history of the show, and ultimately, pop culture. "Jumping the shark" has come to stand for the instant when a series stretches credibility past its limit.

Over the last week, though, the tables have turned. Recent news stories have shown that now it is sharks, and other reckless animals, that are indulging in antics as ridiculous as anything that Fonzie got up to.

Last week a three-metre great white shark leapt into the boat of a research team conducting a study off Seal Island, near South Africa's Cape coast. The shark was trapped on the deck for an hour.

A few days later, a dog was filmed attacking and biting a shark off the coast of Australia. The video of this attack, like a similar one in 2006 that attracted 27 million YouTube hits, has gone viral.

And finally, a leopard that had wandered into the village of Prakash Nagar, in the Indian state of West Bengal, attacked several people, including three guards, before being caught. Fortunately none of the those attacked were killed (though the leopard wasn't so lucky).

It seems that like television shows, the news is also liable to jump the shark. Or, perhaps kingdom Animalia has chosen to start mocking us.