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Investigation: Beached Great White Shark Likely Choked To Death On Sea Lion News Service
July 17, 2014 08:44 EST

PERTH, Western Australia -- The Western Australia Department of Fisheries has concluded its investigation into the death of a White shark found washed ashore at Coronation Beach, about 28 kilometers north of Geraldton earlier this week.

Principal Research Scientist Dr Rory McAuley says the four-meter male shark had no visible signs of injury or disease, however, it appeared the shark had a large Australian sea lion stuck inside its throat.

"This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behavior in shallow waters off Coronation Beach. It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage," Dr McAuley said.

"Such a large object may have damaged the shark's internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death. Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction."

The Department has also confirmed that the shark was tagged in South Australia in January this year. "Confirmation of when and where this shark was tagged demonstrates the extraordinarily mobile nature of this species," Dr McAuley said.

Tissue and vertebral samples were taken for future genetic, age and growth, ecological and population assessment studies.