Yesterday, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) announced a “shocking discovery” on the shores of the Salmon River near the town of Riggins in the western part of the state. In a press release detailing their findings, IDFG fisheries biologist Joe DuPont shared photos of what appear to be a dead salmon shark—a saltwater species with a home range well over 1,000 miles from the Gem State.
“Salmon Sharks can grow up to 10 ft long and weigh up to almost 1,000 lbs,” DuPont wrote in the release. “As indicated by its name, Salmon Sharks like to feed on salmon. So, should we be concerned with this shocking discovery and potential impacts to our salmon and steelhead populations?”
The press release includes two photos of the IDFG’s bizarre find. One shows the shark in a patch of green grass. In another, it’s seen lying in the sand on the banks of the river. It’s not clear how long the shark might have been there or how it ended up in the Salmon River before IDFG removed it.
According to Dupont, there’s no real cause for alarm. He said the out-of-place fish was probably planted as a prank by someone looking for a laugh. “I certainly have laughed about it,” he wrote. “This would have been a great April’s Fools Joke.”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game describes the salmon shark as a strong swimmer that typically measures in the 6.5- to 8-foot range. They’re most comfortable in waters between 36 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As the name suggests, they prefer to feed on salmon. But they also eat sablefish, squid, herring, walleye pollock, sea otters, and a variety of other fish.