One of Cape Cod’s itinerant great white shark visitors perished last weekend, after becoming the first of its species to find itself stranded in shallow waters this season, a year after three other sharks experienced the same unfortunate fate.
The unusual incident took place on Sunday afternoon, according to the Providence Journal. An unnamed beachgoer stumbled upon the white shark, a 12-foot-long specimen, which was struggling in shallow waters. The male shark was discovered in an area of Nauset Beach across from Pochet, and had not been tagged. Researchers from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy were called, yet by the time they arrived, the shark had already perished, as Cynthia Wigren, president of the organization, noted.
“Somebody saw the shark struggling in the water — in the shallow water — and it was in really bad shape when [they] first saw it. We think it might have gotten in shallow water going after a seal, and wasn’t able to get itself back out.”
— Jason Kolnos (@JasonKolnosCCT) October 31, 2016
Upon examination, the white shark showed no signs of abnormality, save some lost skin as a result of its life-or-death struggle against the receding tide. The animal was estimated to be roughly 20 years old, and its stranding was the first event of its kind to be reported this year, according to Boston.com.
Strandings like this seem to be a phenomenon unique to Cape Cod, a fact observed by Wigren.
“It’s rare to see and unique to this area of the world.”
Though this stranding is the first to occur this year, it is hardly the only event of this type to take place on Cape Cod. Last year, no fewer than three white sharks found themselves in similar straits. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the first of those sharks made international headlines when video of it struggling on a beach went viral. Plied with water by beachgoers, the shark was eventually dragged into the sea by researchers working with and alongside the conservancy. Though initially feared dead, the shark was revived and soon moved away under its own power. Named Jameson, the young great white was detected several times thereafter, proving that it had indeed survived its ordeal.
— Never Forget Bot (@forgetmebot) July 18, 2015
The next two white sharks to be stranded in Cape Cod were not so lucky, unfortunately. Just a few weeks later, another shark was caught in the same circumstances, yet despite the efforts of beachgoers, it perished before being returned to the Atlantic. A third white shark was discovered in similar straits later in the summer, yet it had already expired by the time it was found.
— Jolq Benavides (@JolqBenavides) September 9, 2015
— CBS46 (@cbs46) September 8, 2015
Greg Skomal, of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, conducted a necropsy on the stranded white shark on Monday morning. The event was shared live on social media, as the Boston Globe notes, with the animal first being washed down and examined for identifying marks. The conservancy documents each shark they encounter in the waters off the cape, indexing them and identifying each predator based on their unique characteristics.
In a series of clips, the white shark was systematically dismembered, with its major organs and even its signature jaws, perhaps the most notable part of a great white shark, removed in an effort to better determine what led to the predator’s unfortunate and untimely end.
[Featured Image by Elias Levy – Own Work/ Flickr | Cropped and Resized | CC BY 2.0]