Museum scientist Kevin Cole received a call from Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) rangers at 9:53 am today that a shark had washed up on the rocky shores at Morgan Bay. Fortunately he was in the area on field studies with museum colleague Greg Brett and retired botanist Prof Trevor Steinke.The East London Aquarium also called to report the shark (Siani Tinley).
On arrival the shark was confirmed to be a Zambesi (Carcharhinus leucas) and it was further noted that its tail had been bitten off. The specimen measured 1.7 meters from the snout to the severed lower body.
The left hand side also had bites marks and evident was a huge (56 cm) curved laceration with teeth marks which are assumed to be from a Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) – see photo below.
It would seem that the Zambesi had been attacked on the left side before the tail was bitten off. If it is assumed that this adult female was of average length (2.4 m) than 700 cm had been removed when it was bitten again. With severe injuries and no tail the shark was doomed to die and eventually washed out as a fresh specimen on the rocks today.
Zambesi sharks have been noted in the Kei River a short distance north of the find. These sharks are diadromus (they swim in both fresh and saline waters) and are euryhaline (being able to adapt to a wide range of salinities).
The ECPTA were requested to remove the jaw for research and educational purposes and Greg Brett had an opportunity to share his knowledge of sharks on site with the rangers.