Alcatraz tourists have been left in awe after witnessing a great white shark ravaging a seal, according to reports.
The incident which happened on Saturday was caught on camera, and posted on YouTube by one of the spectators, who was standing on a dock. The shocking encounter took place in the vicinity of the abandoned island prison, as unsuspecting visitors were admiring the view.
While gazing into the distance, their attention was captured by a sudden change in the color of the estuary’s water approximately 50 feet off the shore. Blue hues were replaced by bright red ones, as blood filled the waves.
That is how the travelers began witnessing a large shark, thought to be a great white, savagely devouring a marine mammal, right in front of their eyes. As the visitors watched the carnage unfold, they soon realized that the prey was a seal.
Upon seeing the predator’s telltale fin, one of the gawkers began humming the film score from “Jaws”. More gruesome scenes followed, as the seal’s remains began floating on the water’s surface.
The footage marks the “first recorded predation event” that occurred in the San Francisco Bay Waters, according to David McGuire, research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, and leader of the conservation group Shark Stewards.
As he explains, the predator in the video capture appears indeed to be a white shark, approximately 8 to 10 feet long. No such sightings involving the finned attackers had been reported in the area in recent history, and the only fatal shark encounter was reported in May 1959, off Baker Beach.
This suggests that ferocious carnivores which are normally found in the ocean may be getting closer to the shore, as they forage for food in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, swimmers, kayakers and windsurfers may be putting themselves at risk more than they realize.
The presence of the Great White sharks in the area may indicate that increasingly warm waters may be forcing them up north. Some claim this may be related to the El Niño phenomenon, which is gaining strength across the Pacific Ocean, displacing marine animals as they seek increasingly elusive prey.
Dozens of grey white sharks have been spotted in Monterey Bay back in June, probably because fishing camps in Baja and the Sea of Cortés are now depleted.
On the other hand, marine biologists say that this incident exemplifies how the predators swim across an area nicknamed the Red Triangle,between Bodega Head, the Farallon Islands and Monterey Bay.
In fact, autumn is the usual season for sharks to reach the coastal waters of San Francisco, but this occurrence has only been recorded by using electronic tracking systems. As research scientist Salvador Jorgensen explains, over the last 10 years approximately 20 sharks have been detected inside the bay after being monitored with acoustic tags.
Now however, the dreaded carnivores’ presence has been witnessed not just by the naked eye, but also by the camera lens. This doesn’t necessarily spell bad news; it simply indicates that nature unfolds as it should, and the San Francisco Bay ecosystem is functioning normally.
Image Source: Pixabay