6ft-long smalltooth sand tiger shark washes up on British beach after being saved by ‘brave mother’
A rare 6ft-long smalltooth sand tiger shark has washed up on a popular British beach – hours after being saved by a ‘brave’ mother, it was claimed.
The shark, found on Lepe Beach in Hampshire’s New Forest, is believed to be the first of its species found in UK waters.
Alisha Openshaw, a mother-of-two, said she thought she had rescued the large shark when coming across it in the shallows of her local beach and dragging it into deeper waters on Friday.
Although the 38-year-old watched it swim away, the shark has now been found dead on the shore.
It was identified as a smalltooth sand tiger shark, a species classified as Vulnerable and rarely spotted.
A rare 6ft-long smalltooth sand tiger shark has washed up on a popular British beach – hours after being saved by a ‘brave’ mother
The shark, found on Lepe Beach in Hampshire’s New Forest, is believed to be the first of its species found in UK waters
Efforts are now underway to recover the shark from Lepe Beach in Hampshire’s New Forest (pictured) for further examinations and an autopsy. [File image]
The deepwater shark is known to be non-aggressive towards humans, but normally prefers warmer waters to the chilly coast of the UK.
The strictly-protected species can grow up to 12ft in length and weigh up to 289kg.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are probably fewer than 250 adult sand tiger sharks left.
Efforts are now underway to recover the shark from Lepe Beach in Hampshire’s New Forest for further examinations and an autopsy.
On Friday afternoon, Ms Openshaw was on the beach with her children when she spotted the creature on the beach which she thought had been there for a ‘good two hours’, but despite a group of people watching, no one had helped it.
So the hairdresser jumped in herself, pulled it into deeper waters and saw it swim away.
Ms Openshaw, from Dibden Purlieu, Hants, said: ‘I was heading to the beach for a walk, my mum was already there, so I got took the kids for a nice walk.
‘There were a couple of people down there, and they saw the shark splashing. He was splashing around the water around the start, and I got worried that nobody was going to help him.
‘At first I wasn’t sure what it could be, but once I got there I could definitely see it was a shark. It must have been there for a good two hours, and I just can’t believe nobody tried to help him.
Lepe Beach, where the rare shark wad found, is located in Hampshire’s New Forest
Alisha Openshaw, a mother-of-two, thought she had rescued the large shark when she came across it in the shallows of her local beach and dragged it into deeper waters on Friday
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are probably fewer than 250 adult sand tiger sharks left
‘I don’t want any animal to suffer, I can’t even kill a fly myself, and I know I just wanted to save him.’
Then the mother pulled the animal from its tail into deeper waters to ensure it was safe and could swim.
After that, the shark swam away in the direction of the Isle of Wight.
The mother said: ‘It was quite big, you kind of just think about it later, only afterwards do you think, ”Oh I actually rescued a shark”. We must have been in the water for about an hour.’
But despite her best efforts, the shark washed ashore the next day.
She posted on Facebook: ‘Just your standard Friday afternoon down the beach! We thought the shark had survived, but I think he may have been found this morning.’
Locals took to social media to air their theories.
Vix Hales said: ‘I wonder why he was so off course? Perhaps come up with warmer currents. Poor thing.’
Graham Maggs commented: ‘It seems strange as we don’t seem to get the bigger sharks in the Solent, smoothhounds and maybe tope but the porbeagles, threshers and mako seem to stay out the back of the island.’
Others congratulated the mother for her efforts, saying ‘so sad, thank you for trying to save it’ while one person joked ‘don’t think will be swimming at Lepe any more’.