A great white shark has shocked the town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina when it washed up on the shore.
Earlier this week the town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina awoke to find that a large great white shark had washed up on the beach. The shark, later determined to be an eight-foot female, washed up near the island’s Crystal Pier at the Oceanic Restaurant.
The shark was initially analyzed and photographed on the scene by students from The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s (UNCW) Biology and Marine Biology Department and specifically their Marine Mammal Stranding program which moved the carcass from the beach back to UNCW for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
Thomas Lankford, an associate professor at UNCW said that the shark appeared to be around 20 years old and had suffered multiple bite marks, though he doesn’t think those bites were the cause of death but a result of other animals scavenging on the deceased body.
What makes this such a strange and exciting story for North Carolina is the fact that very few great white sharks ever wash up on their shores. While the sharks are seen from time to time in the water, that is where they usually stay.
Dr. Ann Pabst, a professor at UNCW was very excited about the opportunity to study the shark with her students saying;
“This is a very rare event in our area. This is the opportunity to learn a great deal of the biology of this really poorly understood and really threatened marine species. What’s really interesting about what’s going on behind us is that there are many students involved with this.”
The cause of death is still currently unknown but as the scientists at UNCW and other organizations continue to research the deceased animal more information is sure to come to light.
All images via WECT
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