The great white shark that was rescued after being beached at low tide in Cape Cod on July 13 is believed to have survived the near-death experience, an expert who helped save the shark told Live Science.
The seven-foot great white shark became stranded in Old Southway inlet in Chatham, Massachusetts, where it is said to be very shallow at low tide. The shark is believed to have become trapped on a sandbar as the water receded, the Cape Cod Times reported at the time.
Officials from the Chatham Harbormaster, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and Gregory Skomal, a fisheries biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, were called to the scene.
When Skomal arrived, the great white shark appeared to be dead and the experts began discussing options for a possible necropsy (an animal autopsy).
"We were talking about how we were going to cut it up and the next thing we know it starts kicking," Skomal told the Cape Cod Times. "It seemed to know."
A crowd of 40 people surrounded the shark, some pouring water on its gills to help it survive.
Eventually a rope was tied around the great white shark's tail and it was dragged back into the water where it was tagged and released.
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) July 13, 2015
In the process of the rescue, researchers noticed that the shark's underside had turned red. It was "likely because of the capillaries bursting under the weight of its organs that were no longer supported by the buoyant water," experts told Live Science.
So there were concerns whether it would survive or not. But within two weeks of the release, a signal from the tag was picked up by one of the receiving stations around Cape Cod, three miles from where the shark was released.
"It's very encouraging that the shark was alive," Skomal told Live Science. "If I had to guess, if it survived for a couple of days, it's going to survive [in the long term]."
Skomal also said sometimes sharks leave the area, leaving researchers guessing about their whereabouts.
"If we don't hear from it at all for the rest of the summer, it's even more encouraging because that means the shark swam away to a different area," Skomal told Live Science. "They move around quite a bit."
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