Australian snake aficionado Higor Fiuza and his cherished bredli carpet python, Shiva, have been in the spotlight. The duo catapulted to local stardom when a clip showcasing their unique wave-riding exploits caught the public’s attention.
Unfortunately, their rise to fame has not been without controversy, drawing the attention of wildlife protection authorities who have raised concerns over the snake’s welfare.
This surge in popularity has also ushered them into the purview of wildlife protection authorities who question their aquatic adventure’s safety and ethical implications. It is believed that Fiuza may have compromised Shiva’s well-being and breached the terms of his permit for snake-keeping, which prohibits exposing the snake to widespread public attention.
In light of Fiuza’s burgeoning media presence, an inquiry was initiated by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to examine the activities of this unusual surfing pair closely. This investigation culminated in Fiuza being slapped with a fine of A$2,322 (£1,207; $1,495) this week. Jonathan McDonald, a wildlife officer, accentuated that bringing native creatures into the limelight might invoke undue stress and erratic behaviours. He also mentioned that, besides sea snakes, most reptilian species oppose water, and the ocean’s chilly currents could have been uncomfortable for the python. Moreover, there was apprehension regarding the python potentially spreading diseases to indigenous fauna and the public’s safety.
Fiuza’s Defense and a Surfing Duck
Responding to the concerns raised, Fiuza defended his actions, maintaining that Shiva is no stranger to the waves and has accompanied him on numerous surfing jaunts. He painted a picture of Shiva as notably tranquil while in water, contrasting sharply with her typical agitated responses when faced with displeasing situations.
Notably, this isn’t the inaugural instance of an animal making waves in the surfing scene at Rainbow Bay. In a whimsical twist, a duck, aptly christened ‘Duck’, has become a regular at the surfing spot, even stealing the limelight by riding the waves ahead of Australian surfing luminary Steph Gilmore.