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River Monsters

Date: 07-16-11
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Jeremy Wade, Tom Shadyac

Zoologist and TV host Jeremy Wade joined Ian to discuss the weirdest and most bizarre monsters he has caught in remote rivers all over the world. Wade said his journey into extreme angling began when he took a 3-month trip to India to hunt for little-known fish species. Expeditions to other countries followed, but Wade soon found himself back in India. Inspired by local stories of people being pulled beneath the water and disappearing, Wade recalled his decision to track down the elusive Giant Devil Fish in what became the first episode of his series, River Monsters. According to Wade, this creature is quite capable of dragging a person down and even swallowing them head first.

Wade described a subsequent journey into the central regions of the Congo, where he encountered the vicious, prehistoric-looking Goliath Tiger Fish. Related to the piranha, the Goliath Tiger Fish has a mouth like a bear trap, filled with giant razor-sharp teeth. Wade said it took two trips to finally catch one. As if such creatures are not dangerous enough, Wade's job is made all the more dangerous when he uses himself as bait. On one such occasion, Wade revealed that he was almost done in by a 6-ft long Arapaima Fish that struck him in the chest. Several weeks after the injury he still had difficulty moving, Wade added.

Perhaps his most famous discovery is something Wade has only managed to capture on film. While exploring the Amazon, Wade said he began recording a pod of pink dolphins swimming around him. Two rather clear frames from this impromptu photo shoot show something mysterious with a row of large points on its back, similar in appearance to saw blade, break the surface of the water. While he does not have absolute confirmation, Wade presents a possible explanation for this so-called 'Amazonian Nessie' in his book. Wade also spoke about his desire to catch even larger specimens of the giant fish he has previously landed, as well as the intrusion of Bull Sharks into fresh water rivers.

Fixing a Broken World

In the first hour, film director Tom Shadyac talked about his new documentary, I AM, which challenges some of today's leading thinkers with two questions: "What's wrong with our world?" and "What can we do about it?" Shadyac believes the western model of doing business is toxic, divisive, and unsustainable. "You just can't teach a philosophy to your kids to take all you that can, make sure you take for yourself, look out for number one, beat your neighbor, beat your competitor, always get the 'A,' don't worry about the other kid... you can't teach that model and expect it to sustain," he contended.

After years of participating in and benefiting from what he now sees as a flawed vision of how things work, Shadyac confessed that he became motivated to alter his life and find a better way. The nature of humans tends toward cooperation, not competition, he explained, noting that each one of us is connected to the other and to every living thing. Pointing to an experiment in which a Petri dish of yogurt seemingly reacted to human emotional states, Shadyac added that the energy from living systems effects other living systems. Ultimately, humans are both what is wrong with the world and its solution, he concluded.

Related Material

River Monster Images
River Monster Images
Check out a few of the River Monsters that Jeremy Wade has encountered, including this Giant Devil Catfish. View the full set here.

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