- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beachgoers are being credited with helping save the life of a great white shark that became stranded on the shore in Cape Cod this week.

 The 7-foot-long shark was stuck in the sand on a Chatham, Massachusetts beach for around an hour on Monday afternoon, witnesses say, after apparently encountering an issue while trying to make a meal out of some seagulls.

“We felt really bad for it,” eyewitness Isabel Hegland told CBS News. “It was just trying to get some food so we didn’t want it to die.”

According to the Associated Press, around 40 beachgoers gathered around the great white and kept it wet by dousing it with buckets of water until shark experts could arrive and help the animal back into the ocean.a

“Last year we know that sharks were in that area, and that it got shallow and it was hard for them to get out,” Cynthia Wigren of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy told WCVB News. “It was hard for them to get out, but for a shark to be beached, is a big deal.”

Marine biologist Greg Skomal told CBS that the shark, only a juvenile, was very sluggish and barely moving when he arrived on the beach in Chatham, around 80 miles outside of Boston. Nevertheless, Skomal said the shark was tagged and then resuscitate by being safely dragged back out into deeper water.

Monday’s incident came only one week after the first great white of the season was spotted off the Chatham shore, according to data maintained by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. Skomal, the biologist, previously told CapeCod.com that 68 great whites were located and tagged last season in the region that includes Chatham, Orleans and Monomy. Skomal added that the season usually stretches through November, and he expects upwards of three dozen will be spotted in 2015.

“The goal is to find as many white sharks as possible and for the population study to get as much footage of the sharks as we can,” added Atlantic White Shark Conservancy President Cynthia Wigren.

Down the coast, meanwhile, at least 11 people have been attacked by sharks this year so far in just the Carolinas, according to the Associated Press.

 

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