An Australian teen braved the waters off Broulee Beach to film a tiger shark feasting on the carcass of a dead whale last week, heedless of the danger the predator posed.
Michael James, 18, waded knee deep into the water in order to record the tiger shark as it fed, according to the Daily Mail. The animal was one of at least four sharks that were observed devouring the whale, which beached itself among the rocks at Broulee last week. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the whale was injured, and washed off the rocks before rescuers could respond. Minutes later, the juvenile humpback was struck and killed by a shark.
The tiger shark can be seen in James’ footage circling the dead whale, which sank to the sandy bottom just off the rocks. Though James was only partially in the water, his camera managed to capture the shark as it bit into the carcass, picking it apart one mouthful at a time.
“The shark would come and chomp on the whale, swim away 20 minutes later roughly and come back and chomp on it again, go digest it, come back. It was quite amazing,” another Broulee resident observed.
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) January 9, 2015
At one point as he was filming, James lost his footing, slipping on a piece of seaweed while the tiger shark approached him. Though the predator turned away, the shark’s tail whipped closely by him as it moved off.
Speaking with Weekend Sunrise, James revealed that he filmed the tiger shark for his girlfriend, who he knew would appreciate the video.
“It took a bit of guts to get in there and have a crack at it,” he noted. “My girlfriend’s right into her footage, I thought I’d get this for her and she’ll be happy.”
— Canberra Times (@canberratimes) January 9, 2015
Local authorities closed off the beach until the sharks dispersed, and fishermen towed the whale carcass out to sea later in the day, hoping to draw the predators away from populated areas. As the Canberra Times reports, a local surfer, who wished to remain anonymous, dove in the water between shark feedings to tie a rope around the dead humpback, timing his action carefully to avoid the predators. The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter had earlier reported two large sharks, over 3.5 meters long, in the nearby water.
Experts noted that it was common to find tiger sharks feeding on a carcass, as they are known to scavenge sick and dying prey.
[Image: Michael James via Weekend Sunrise]