Sunday, November 9, 2014

Video: Sheep Found in Stomach Contents of Red Sea Tiger Shark

A sheep was found in stomach contents of tiger shark caught in Saudi Arabia
A video has surfaced today on LiveLeak which shows fishermen gutting a large female tiger shark and pulling out the remains of a sheep. According to the poster, the video is from Saudi Arabia but no other details were provided.

Many in the comment section are asking how a sheep ended up inside the tiger shark. Although tiger sharks have a reputation of being the 'ocean's garbage can' since they will eat almost anything, it is not typical that a sheep would end up in the ocean unless they were flushed out via a river system or dumped at sea. No matter the answer, it did make me think about the highly publicized 2010 shark attacks that occurred in Egypt and how livestock transport ships were considered as a contributing factor in the attacks due to the illegal dumping of sheep carcasses at sea.

In December 2010, there was series of shark attacks at Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort off the coast of Egypt. Five attacks occurred within a one week time frame resulting in one death and four serious injuries. It was believed that the shark responsible for the fatal attack was an oceanic whitetip and that either oceanic whitetips or mako sharks were responsible for the non fatal attacks.

Following the unprecedented attacks, an international team of experts reviewed the cases in an attempt to understand the cause. One of the theories was that livestock transport vessels, which were transporting sheep from from Australia and New Zealand, had taken sheep that didn't survive the trip and dumped them overboard into the Red Sea causing sharks to move closer to shore.

Unique notch in the dorsal fin of tiger shark caught in Rea Sea at Saudi Arabia.  Sheep found in stomach.
Very distinct notch in the dorsal fin
We should note that the report cited the following other possible contributing factors: "depletion of natural prey in the area caused by over fishing; localized feeding of reef fish and/or sharks by swimmers, snorkelers and some divers; and unusually high water temperatures in Sharm el Sheikh," as noted in Divernet.

It's always sad to see such a large female tiger shark being harvested especially in the Red Sea where sightings of tiger sharks are somewhat rare.  Tiger sharks are listed as "Near Threatened" on the the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Video posted by dammam1998 & photos are screenshots.