Raiders of the Lost Shark

A Great White Shark in ‘suspended animation’ found inside a deserted wildlife park in Australia, so far it sounds like something either from an episode of Scooby-Doo or the entrance to a villains lair from a James Bond film. Believe it or not, it is absolutely true.

The four metre Great White had been suspended in formaldehyde – exactly the same process that the artist Damien Hirst used to preserve a tiger shark back in 1991 – and was slowly decaying, its shape and snout unmistakable through the green tinged solution.

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News about the once great fish first surfaced on YouTube back in November when it gained notoriety after video footage filmed by trespassing urban explorers first surfaced. With over 11 million views it sparked huge interest in the shark and the abandoned park, not the sort of exposure the owners of the derelict site were after.

The shark, named Rosie, faced the prospect of heading to landfill before a local business, Crystal World, stepped in to ‘raid’ this lost shark and save it. The Great White is now going to get a new lease of life as an exhibit as part of its Prehistoric Journeys Exhibition Centre, still preserved in chemicals of course but now in a brand new tank.

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Rosie is believed to have been caught in 1998 in Southern Australia before ending up at the sanctuary. Of course it was already dead before arriving at the park, but you can’t deny that there is sadness in seeing such a beautiful creature being caught and displayed in such a way, and then lay lost and unloved for so long.

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Rescued, at least Rosie will now get some of the respect she deserves. It would have been a huge waste to just see her disappear in landfill.

Although Rosie may no longer be with us she is set to be discovered by a whole new generation of shark fans, new and old alike. Even before Jaws sharks captured our imaginations and have mesmerised us, the discovery and saving of Rosie shows us that it’s just not Bruce that we love and care about. It’s all sharks, living or dead they still deserve the utmost respect.

By Dean Newman 

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