August 21, 2007

Shark Wrestling?

Biologists caught a 7-foot-long shark that had become a tourist attraction by making daily incursions into knee-high water on a Spanish beach outside of Madrid, wrestling it with their bare hands and dragging it ashore.

But the rescue effort may have been for naught because the shark was very ill and may not survive, a biologist said.

The 200-pound sandbar shark — not generally associated with attacks on humans — first showed up early last week at a beach called Miracle in northeast Tarragona province, forcing authorities to close off the water to bathers.

The fish turned into a novelty by swimming regularly into plain view in very shallow water. Bathers gathered daily to snap photos. Police fined several people who ventured into the water to splash around with it.

A team of three biologists from the Barcelona Aquarium waded in Monday and, after two failed attempts before a crowd of hundreds, finally managed to capture the flailing shark with their hands. They quickly stuck its snout into a net to keep it from biting.

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