A late November visitor to a beach in Cape Cod captured unusual video of one of the region’s great white sharks, as the predator struck at a grey seal just a few feet from the shore in Truro.
The dramatic clip was taken on November 26 by Kenvor Cothey, according to Cape Cod Today, and depicts a brutal predation attempt. Filmed off High Head Road, the footage begins as a white shark can be seen struggling in the waves, just a few meters outside the crashing surf. The shark thrashes violently for a moment, as it appears to be fighting its way back into deeper water.
[Warning: Graphic Video]
After just a moment, the camera pans to the left, revealing a grey seal fleeing the ocean. The animal is bleeding profusely as it pulls itself onto the beach, gravely wounded. As Grind TV notes, the white shark was able to strike at the seal, but was unable to finish it off before the smaller animal made its way out of the water.
— UK News Information (@AnglosearchNews) December 2, 2016
Cynthia Wigren, president of the non-profit Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which funds research and public awareness efforts in the region, noted that this type of attack was hardly uncommon along Cape Cod.
“We’ve seen on multiple occasions a white shark bite once and wait for the seal to bleed out. It’s unclear if this occurred or if the seal was simply able to get away.”
— masslivenews (@masslivenews) November 25, 2016
Dramatic as the video may be, it has also revealed to researchers a surprising facet of white shark behavior in the region. Great white sharks rarely strand themselves along beaches anywhere else in the world, yet in Cape Cod this phenomenon seems to be much more common. According to the Conservancy, this most recent clip helps shed light on the reasons why.
“This is what we believe may be happening when white sharks strand on Cape Cod.”
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries researcher Greg Skomal, whose work the Conservancy supports, noted that the seal’s ultimate fate was undetermined, though the shark nearly paid with its life for the attack.
“In some cases the seal is able to get away as in the case of this seal coming on to the beach. It may survive, it may not survive, depending on the nature of its injuries. But as we can see it was bleeding profusely, and the shark because it attacked the seal in such shallow water was also jeopardized because it came very close to beaching itself.”
— MA Sharks (@MA_Sharks) November 3, 2016
Last year, three white sharks were found stranded in the area, as the Inquisitr previously noted. The first of those animals made international headlines when video of its dramatic rescue at the hands of the Conservancy spread online. The juvenile shark, named Jamison by researchers, survived its ordeal after being towed through the ocean and revived; a tag affixed to the shark has since shown that it recovered. Most recently, the shark was detected off the coast of Canada, as CapeCod.com notes.
The other two sharks which found themselves stranded last year weren’t as lucky as Jamison; both of those animals perished, despite the efforts of beachgoers. In late October of this year, another shark was found in similar straits on Nauset Beach in Orleans. Although a passerby witnessed it struggling to free itself, the great white was too far gone by the time help arrived, its skin having been shredded in its attempts to reach deeper water. A necropsy was conducted on the 12-foot-long male shark by Dr. Skomal; such an opportunity for study is rare, as white sharks are legally protected.
Though the Conservancy’s research season has come to an end, a number of sharks are still in the waters off Cape Cod, if only for a few more weeks. Falling water temperatures will drive the great white sharks out of the area in the coming month, with the majority of them gone by mid-December.