Authorities have confirmed that a dead seal found along the Washington coast indicates that a great white shark, thought to be 18-feet-long, may be lurking in the area.
Last Thursday, a beachgoer stumbled upon the dead seal, which had been bitten in half, according to Q13 Fox. The animal’s remains, which were found in the Ocean Shores area, were sent by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to California for a necropsy. Tests have since concluded that a large great white shark was responsible for the seal’s demise, according to Fish and Wildlife spokesman Craig Bartlett.
“It was a clean bite right below the rib cage,” he said. “Other than half the body missing, the seal was in good shape. After a necropsy, they determined the bite was from an 18-foot great white shark.”
A great white shark spy hopping pic.twitter.com/B3aZhvUX6B
— Sharkingaround (@sharkingaround) February 24, 2015
The department has warned local businesses, authorities, and surf shops that a large shark is present in the area, but they have no plans to keep people out of the water. Locals have expressed mixed reactions to the great white, with some showing concern, while others, like kite shop owner Andy Siass, believe the shark will be good for the area.
“I think more people are going to want to come out and think ‘oh can we see a great white shark’,” he said.
Seeing a Great White Shark swimming on the surface and its iconic dorsal fin is an amazing sight to see! pic.twitter.com/IeUp76QqSM
— Calypso Star Charter (@sharkcagediving) February 23, 2015
As Komo News points out, while white sharks are relatively common in California, an attack hasn’t taken place along the Washington coastline in 26 years. Last December, a surfer from the San Luis Obispo area of California was struck by a white shark at Sand Spit Beach in Montana De Oro State Park, as the Inquisitr previously noted. Though bitten on his right hip, the surfer escaped without any life threatening injuries.
Great White Shark confirmed along Ocean Shores http://t.co/OZun1oom4o pic.twitter.com/riqAWCMegx
— Sally Ulianich (@sallyulianich) February 25, 2015
A second deceased seal was also found over the weekend, though the Fish and Wildlife department has determined that its wounds were not inflicted by the white shark. Instead, they assert that the seal was killed by a gaff hook, commonly used by fishermen.
Bartlett also noted that the seal’s necropsy revealed it had been feeding on smelt, which occupy warm currents near the shoreline. He cited this as evidence that the 18-foot-long great white shark could be swimming far closer to shore than expected.
[Image via Great White Shark 3D]