A lucky dog narrowly survived an encounter with a bronze whaler shark along the New Zealand coast, as his morning walk with his owner took a terrifying turn.
According to Auckland Now, Russell Barker had taken his kelpie cross Basil for their usual morning walk on Auckland's North Shore when they encountered the shark. The dog was in the water on the eastern side of Hinemoa Park in Birkenhead when Barker noticed what looked like a two-meter-long shark approaching Basil.
"Thankfully the shark surfaced and alerted me...and Basil was feeling obedient enough to respond to my panicked screams for his retreat," Barker recalled.
Auckland man Russell Barker screamed as a two metre bronze whaler shark approached his dog http://t.co/xXzIA96At7 pic.twitter.com/lW221BmQwtThe shark appeared to be a bronze whaler, Barker noted, a species of requiem shark most commonly found in temperate latitudes. According to shark conservation expert Riley Elliott, a bronze whaler is far from uncommon in that area of New Zealand.
— Stuff.co.nz News (@NZStuff) December 9, 2014
"Bronze whalers are the most common coastal shark," he asserted.
While the predators mostly feed on crustaceans and small fish, an animal like a dog swimming and splashing in the water is definitely enough to attract the shark's attention, Elliott said.
"Any panicky animal will be intriguing to a predator but a shark has been around long enough to know what his food is so the danger would be very slim."
According to the New Zealand Herald, bronze whaler sharks are classified as a game fish. Though they are considered man-eaters in some parts of the world, the sharks rarely threaten humans in New Zealand waters, as they are well fed by local fish populations. The sharks inundate the area around Waitemata Harbour annually, providing unique challenges for local fishermen. Over the summer, the big sharks are also regularly spotted at popular areas around Matarangi, Omaha and Pakiri Beaches.
what a gorgeous fish — bronze whaler #shark! off South Africa!! http://t.co/50a5gTbj1A pic.twitter.com/JFCa9GDbmNRecently, a juvenile great white shark was spotted in a lake in Australia. As the Inquisitr previously noted, the shark was sighted when it entered shallow water in pursuit of bait fish. Though video of the predator taken by a fisherman spread internationally, locals had been aware of its presence in the lake for several weeks.
— Scuba Diving Mag (@scubadivingmag) October 16, 2014
Elliott warned that people and dogs should avoid swimming in areas where anglers repeatedly lure fish, noting that doing so was tantamount to challenging a shark to make a mistake.
[Images: Russell Barker via Auckland Now]