Conservationists are fuming after a mysterious photo of a decapitated Great White Shark sitting on the shore of a New Zealand beach emerged online.
The White Shark Conservation Trust says the creature’s wounds indicated it was killed after being removed from the water, posting the gruesome image to social media in an attempt to find the perpetrators.
The image, which has been blurred to obscure the full extent of the creature’s gruesome demise, was taken three days ago at Pilot Bay, Tauranga.
“This act is illegal on a number of accounts,” the post read.
“The shark has what appears to be stab wounds to the head indicating it was killed after it was brought to shore. Someone must have seen the shark being caught or cut up. This act is illegal on a number of accounts- killing of a protected species and being in possession of parts of a white shark.”
With just 800 estimated Great Whites left in our waters, The punishments for mistreating sharks in Australian and New Zealand territory is severe. A maximum fine of $250,000 applies to anyone taking or killing a protected species.
The White Shark Conservation Trust was formed by Bruce Goorney in 2009 after a fateful cage-diving trip off South Australian coastline, which he described as “the most humbling experience of my life”.
“Bruce had already realised the media representation of the white shark was wholly inaccurate, but it was not until he actually met the animals whilst cage diving, that he realised how intelligent, timid, cautious and truly beautiful they are,” a statement from the Trust’s website reads.
The group has put out a call for anyone with information to come forward.
“These are prosecutable offences and we urge anyone who knows anything about this to report their information to DoC (Department of Conservation) or MPI (Ministry of Primary Fisheries).”