Two men successfully rescued a beached shark on the coast of northeast Newfoundland, Canada. Derrick Chaulk was driving in Norris Arm North when he saw what he thought was a beached whale. As reported by CBC News, when he left his vehicle and got closer, he saw that it was a Greenland shark that was still alive and estimated it measured approximately 8 feet and weighed 253 pounds. Greenland sharks are rare in that area but what also seemed unusual was that the animal had a large moose hide sticking out of its mouth. About the hide Derrick told CBC, "It had the fur and all the liner on it — it was about two feet long, maybe."
Jeremy Ball had approached the beach at that point and the two local men worked together on the rescue effort. They pulled on the moose hide and Derrick said, "A couple yanks and it just came right out." With that threat to the shark removed, the men tied a rope around the shark’s tail and Jeremy pulled while Derrick pushed the animal until it was in deeper water. After laying in about a foot of water, the shark’s gills began moving and Derrick explained, "All of a sudden, the water started coming out of his gills and he started breathing."
Derrick said that hunters clean and gut moose on the banks of the harbor and throw the scraps into the water, which is how the shark likely encountered the moose hide. However Greenland sharks are scavengers and while they usually feed on fish, several have been found with remains of large animals like seals, polar bears, horses, moose and reindeer. Amazingly, one Greenland shark was found to have eaten an entire reindeer including its antlers.
The Norris Arm North shark stayed in the shallow water for 30 minutes and eventually made its way out to sea. By then a small crowd had gathered and the shark swam away to cheers. Derrick proudly said, "It was a good feeling to see that shark swim out, knowing that you saved his life.”
CBC News spoke to shark ecologist Ian Hamilton about Greenland sharks:
- Nature & Environment
- Greenland shark