​Shark Chokes On Sea Lion: Why Didn’t The Great White Survive?

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July 21, 2021

A shark chokes on a sea lion, and it was caught on tape. It seems that one small animal was stuck inside a 13-foot great white shark as it chokes to survive in the water. The state’s Department of Fisheries said the male shark was found washed ashore at Coronation Beach earlier this week. Scientists give two possible theories on what may have happened.

The shark choked on a sea lion story may have an explanation, according to the department’s principal research scientist Rory McAuley. The shark had no visible signs of injury or disease, but it seemed to something lodged in its throat.

“This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behaviour in shallow waters,” Dr McAuley said. “It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the story is getting a lot of attention by experts. Chris Lowe, of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab, said it’s unlikely the blockage itself killed the shark. “They can’t choke to death like humans since an esophageal block doesn’t restrict breathing in a shark,” he told the Los Angeles Times by email. “It’s most likely that the shark was rubbing along the seafloor to dislodge the food and the animal just stranded and couldn’t get back to deeper water.”

However, Dr McAuley said such a large object may have damaged the animal’s internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death. Alternatively, the great white may have accidentally become stranded in his bid to get rid of the obstruction. The department said the great white was tagged in South Australia in January.

“Confirmation of when and where this shark was tagged demonstrates the extraordinarily mobile nature of this species,” Dr McAuley said.

A shark choking on a sea lion also drew criticism from Greens MP Lynn MacLaren, who pounced on the news as she continued to campaign against the WA government’s controversial shark culling program, which it ran last summer and seeks to extend for a further three years.

“We heard that several members of the public repeatedly tried to save a great white that had stranded itself off the beach, at some personal risk to themselves,” Ms MacLaren said.

“One must assume that these beachgoers are not part of the Premier’s imagined ‘silent majority’ who support his desire to exterminate large sharks off our beaches.”

The shark choking on a sea lion story isn’t the only bizarre encounter in the waters. Last month, a great white was devoured by a huge predator that’s been unidentified for nearly a decade. It may prove that the waters are also dangerous for sharks.