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Outrage as Beloved Bull Shark 'Quasimodo' Found Dead by South African Divers; 'Why Kill Such a Beautiful Animal?'

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SHELLY BEACH, South Africa -- For those of you who don’t know Quasimodo, Quasimodo was a very popular Zambezi shark (also known as Bull Shark) estimated to be about 70 years old and described as a “friendly” shark and regular diving companion of divers from all over the world. She has sadly been found shot dead at the bottom of the Protea Banks Reef of Shelly Beach in South Africa by a group of UK divers and a team from African Dive Adventures on 27th April 2006.

Mike Carvalho, one of the divers who found Quasimodo recently contacted Project AWARE Foundation (International) to share this sad news and very upsetting experience. “She was named Quasimodo because she had a recognisable bend on its dorsal fin. She was a beautiful creature, and was not a threat to humans. Why kill such a beautiful animal?” said Mike. Mike was fortunately running a camera test when his dive buddy Greg Poustie noticed a distant milk-white shape against the rocky seabed. As they approached the almost surreal object, it became increasingly apparent that this was part of a very large sea creature. Having identified the shark and marked its position, the divers returned to their boat. Another dive team lead by Trevor Krull from African Odyssea and one of the founders of Sharklife was just arriving at that same location for their morning dive. After further examination Trevor took the decision to lift the huge creature to the surface and bring it to shore. A deep puncture wound on top of the shark head was quickly discovered. The death was obviously no accident. Mike and his fellow divers were outraged by the tragedy. They immediately alerted the police and the KZN Wildlife. The shark was taken to the Durban Sharks Board for post mortem investigation and a report was filed with the local police. The Port Shepstone Organised Crime Unit investigated a charge of killing of a fish with an explosive device in contravention of the Marine Living Resources Act.

Dive operators have witnessed the drastic decline in the Zambezi shark population on Protea Banks. One could expect to see up to 20 or more individual sharks on a single dive when diving began there in 1994. In 2005 there were estimated to be 7 individual Zambezi's left on the reef including Quasimodo. Each of these sharks are a national treasure attracting thousands of divers each year. The death of Quasimodo is not only a sad loss for the whole diving community but also for the whole reef ecology. To voice your protest or support the Sharklife battle to protect Zambezi Sharks grant@sharklife.co.za or visit the Sharklife website.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

10 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

only people who love sharks will understand the sorrow of all those who mourn the death of "quasimodo". sharks have fascinated me when i was a small boy; now, at age 65, i just love them. have a look, and u will understand why: www.oceanicdreams.com
   comment# 1   - wolfgang leander · bolivia · Oct 22, 2006 @ 12:16am

This is absolutely disgusting. Humans are trespassing into their territory which is why you have quite a few attacks along the South Eastern seafront of South Africa. This, however, does not mean we may just destroy them just because we are afraid.
   comment# 2   - Niels von Ekesparre · Johannesburg · Jan 11, 2007 @ 4:06am

As someone who works with sharks on a daily basis, it is beyond me how anyone could be so cold and unforgiving to such a beautiful animal. Fear of sharks is seldom ever warranted, and a display such as this shows nothing more than sheer ignorance and stupidity. Sadly this was not the first, nor will be the last, as thousands of sharks are mutilated and killed world wide every day by humans. Simply sickening.
   comment# 3   - Emileigh · Seaside, Ca · Jan 18, 2007 @ 1:41pm

It is sad and I hate when things are killed for the pleasure of killing. However, let me play Devil's Advocate. If one were to step back and look at life and evolution, we finally hold all the cards now. We are the masters of the planet - a planet that nearly made us extinct 8,000 years ago! We were hunted by predators and beaten down by the weather. Our population teetered in the hundreds. But now, now we can pierce the shark. We can skin the lion. We can dam the rivers. So what if we wipe out species and make them extinct? 99 percent of the species that ever lived have gone extinct! So what if sharks disappear, lions are reduced to trophies, rugs, and documentaries? We can bend this world to our will! And no matter how polluted we make it, it will always be more hospitable than the surface of the moon or mars. The point is we just came in out of the evolutionary storm and are just now warm and safe. Yet our primitive fears are still here.
   comment# 4   - Lexx · Tampa, FL · Mar 29, 2007 @ 10:38pm

Lexx, Care to explain or try to justify how we are leaving this planet for our kids who will have to live on it? Shows a lack of evolution in my opinion.
   comment# 5   - Steve · Los Angeles · Apr 18, 2007 @ 4:10am

Good shot.
   comment# 6   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska , Texas · Jul 27, 2007 @ 7:27am

Sorry Lexx, cannot follow your argument that we were only a population 'in the hundreds' 8,000 years ago. Don't think we can 'bend the world to our will' either. We're reducing it to dust/floodwaters - depending on where you live. The current slaughter of sharks is a disgrace - I've dived with many species incl. great whites/tigers worldwide, and am deeply saddened by their demise. There is no need to play 'devil's advocate' as you say. The Devil is already busy enough slaughtering our planet.
   comment# 7   - R · United Arab Emirates · Aug 13, 2007 @ 12:02pm

anyone who kills pour defenceless animals is a monster by my book! Vegetarian 4 life! Go veggie or drop dead!
   comment# 8   - bebe · sault ste. marie, Canada · Jun 4, 2008 @ 2:30pm

such a shame. according to the story, it was like one of those dolphins that hang around public beaches. i bet that this person did it not out of fear, but to make themselves feel BIG.
   comment# 9   - ajf · new york, usa · Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:41am

well I'm researching on Bull Sharks and I was wondering if you could give me some pictures and information I'm in 6th grade Becuse your information is good. :)
   comment# 10   - Tyshalia · Federal way · Apr 22, 2009 @ 3:23pm
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