Quest for the Giant Squid

It’s no secret that I love me the giant squid. Back in 2009 when I wrote “Loving the Lusca” I outlined my love quite thoroughly, “For some reason I love the idea of giant sea creatures. All those in search of the giant squid shows on the Discovery Channel – watched them. Ditto when they bust out the giant octopus stuff – I’m there. I don’t know what about them that I like so much. Perhaps, oddly, it’s the romanticism of the giant sea creature. I know it sounds funny, but for some reason a giant sea squid makes me think of multi-masted ships getting taken into the briny deep for venturing off the map. The ocean is still so vast that we continually discover new things living there. And that although doubtful, I can still entertain the idea that one day I’ll be watching BBC America news in the morning (because it’s back!) and hear a neutral voice with a British accent explain that a ship has been destroyed off the coast of some country by some giant tentacled thing from the deep.”

You can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled across Matt Walker’s blog on the BBC website that asked, “Is the giant squid the new giant panda?” Hecks yeah! “Can a 13-metre long beastie, all tentacles and suckers, be a conservation icon for our time? Scientists are proposing that the giant squid Architeuthis be emblemised and celebrated to help promote the conservation of marine diversity. The giant squid would become the giant panda of the seas; a single species that captures the imagination, and stands for the world in which it lives.”

Walker’s article goes on to outline the possible importance of a marine conservation emblem, the reasons why the giant squid makes a reasonable candidate, and a little bit about the history of the World Wildlife Foundation’s iconic panda. It packs a lot of information in a nice bite sized article, you should check it out.

In scrolling through reader comments to the article, I was pleased to find many people getting behind the giant squid proposal. However, there is a strong whale lobby going on as well. To that I say, the giant squid is associated with the pirates of old; rum swilling, scurvy dogs. Whales; well they get hippies. I love me some hippy stuff, but put up against the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, this lady will be choosing pirate every time. When a pirate map said, “Here There Be Monsters”, it was creatures like the giant squid they were talking about. Check and mate.

Or as Walker says, “But this outsized, almost monstrous sea creature of lore is perhaps the more enigmatic, secretive, bizarre and fascinating animal. It may also better represent the ecosystem in which it lives, and the threats to it.” I bet he picks pirates too.