A massive shark has been photographed off Burwood beach in Australia, preying upon an unfortunate dolphin, though the predator is just one of at least three known to be lurking in the area.
Newcastle beaches remain closed for a record seventh day, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, amid sightings of a great white shark in the region. Another shark, however, created a stir on Thursday as it was spotted attacking a dolphin at Burwood Beach, less than 200 meters from a group of spearfishermen.
A pod of dolphins swimming near the beach appeared innocuous, according to observers, until one of the animals started to lag behind the group. Upon closer examination, a gaping wound was noticed across the dolphin’s back, likely the result of the shark’s first bite. The other dolphins crowded around the injured animal at first, according to the Daily Telegraph, but fled as the shark moved in for the kill.
After circling the hapless dolphin, the 3.5-meter-long shark lashed out once more, taking a bite out of its tail. The shark then waited for the dolphin to die before continuing to feed.
Though the shark’s species was unknown, some have speculated that it could be a tiger shark. Commonly found in waters north of Newcastle, tiger sharks have moved south this year, along with warmer water that has been driven by a strong current.
Among the sharks that have recently appeared in Newcastle is the massive great white, which has closed local beaches for a week. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the white shark is five-meters-long, and has lingered in the area, despite efforts to chase it out to sea. A smaller, three-meter-long shark has also been spotted in Newcastle Harbor.
— Matt Cullen (@Mattcullen1976) January 15, 2015
Indiscriminate culls of sharks have been hotly debated across Australia over the last year, with opponents saying that the policy owes more to movies like Jaws than legitimate scientific understanding of sharks. Dr. Daniel Bucher, a marine biologist at Southern Cross University, asserted that while he doesn’t support culling, targeting a problem shark may occasionally be necessary.
“If you’ve got a shark that is a real and imminent danger and doesn’t want to leave an area, there might be a case for targeting that individual shark,” he said. “But it’s such a rare event.”
Though the Newcastle white shark has lingered in one spot, as did another great white in Western Australia last month, Bucher also pointed out that most large sharks are nomadic.
The local council confirmed that at least three dolphin carcasses have washed ashore this week in Newcastle with injuries related to shark bites.
[Images: Peter Lorimer via the Daily Telegraph]