Anyone Know A Shark Dentist?


It can’t be easy trying to light up under the ocean.

But while at first glance it looks like he’s enjoying a cigar, this shark has actually come off worse in an encounter with a fisherman.When the grey nurse shark was found by two divers in Australia, he had a 4ft gaff – a hooked pole used to haul big fish on to boats – wedged in his mouth.

One of the divers, John Natoli, said: ‘Although it did not appear to be suffering in any way, it was obvious it wouldn’t be able to hunt and eat and would die.’

The sharks are an endangered species and it is possible that this one became injured as a result of illegal fishing.

Whether someone had illegally tried to catch the 11ft shark, an endangered species, wasn’t known, but the divers were well aware that if something wasn’t done to help it, the creature would die.

‘Although it did not appear to be suffering in a way, it was obvious it wouldn’t be able to hunt and eat very successfully and would die,’ said diver John Natoli, one of the men who discovered the shark off the north coast of New South Wales.After Mr Natoli drew attention to the shark’s plight, government divers went off in search of it – and despite the possibility of it having swum off to another area, found it near its original location.

With the greatest care (as grey nurse sharks can still bite and thrash when under duress), the divers managed to lasso it and then herd it into a clear plastic tunnel, specially designed for catching injured sea creatures.

Then the shark was brought to the surface and its see-through ‘cage’ hauled by crane on to a boat. Injected with a drug to calm it, the shark was moved into a tank where a vet and divers were able to manoeuvre the hooked end of the gaff from its throat without causing any injury.

‘It was a delicate job but a job well done,’ said Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald. ‘We aren’t sure how the gaff got there in the first place but the good news is that the shark ended up in the best of health.’

Before it was released back into the Pacific Ocean, the shark was fitted with an electronic tag so that its movements and recovery can be monitored by scientists.There are believed to be about 500 grey nurse sharks in NSW waters.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Becky June 30, 2009 at 8:19 pm

I’m glad to hear that somebody cares about wild animals and when injured does something about it!!! Thank you to all involved in this rescue 🙂

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