Photo by Derrick Chaulk
This past Saturday, two men came to the aid of a shark that was choking on a large piece of moose hide in the shallow waters of a Newfoundland harbor.
CBC News says Derrick Chaulk was driving along a harbor when he saw what he thought was a beached whale. When he and another local man, Jeremy Ball, investigated closer, they saw it was a Greenland shark with a large chunk of moose hide protruding from its mouth. Chaulk and Ball pulled the hide from the shark’s mouth, tied a rope to the shark’s tail, and towed it to deeper water where it recovered for 30 minutes.
“There was a few people up on the bank watching and once that shark swam out and lifted his tail, and then swam all the way out, everybody just clapped,” said Chaulk. “It was a good feeling to see that shark swim out, knowing that you saved his life.”
Greenland sharks are scavengers and known to eat animals (like polar bears and reindeer) that fall into the water. Chaulk said locals sometimes throw butchered moose scraps into the harbor, and the shark probably simply bit off more than it could chew. However, Jeffrey Gallant, president and lead scientist at the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group, says the men should have righted the shark back into the water and not risked injury.
“When you’re man-handling a shark like this and trying to get it back in the water, the fact that its mouth was otherwise pre-occupied by chewing on the meat, you reduce the risk yourself of getting bit accidentally.”