A set of partial Human remains found inside a 3.4 m Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, caught off the coast of La Réunion, an island in the western Indian Ocean which is a department of France, on Thursday 26 December 2019, have been identified. The remains comprised a pair of arms plus an item of jewelry, which has been identified as having belonged to an elderly kayaker who went missing off the island on 12 December. The shark was caught as part of a research program studying the feeding behaviour of the Sharks, following a number of attacks on Humans around La Réunion. This is the third Shark-related fatality recorded around the island this year.
A Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, in the Western Indian Ocean. Thomas Peschak/Save Our Seas Foundation.
Despite their fearsome reputation, attacks by Sharks are relatively rare and most attacks on Humans by Sharks are thought to be mistakes. Tiger Sharks have a diverse diet, including invertebrates, Fish, Birds, Marine Reptiles and Marine Mammals, which we superficially resemble when we enter the water. Marine Mammals are attacked principally for their thick adipose (fat) layers, which are a nutritious high-energy food, but which we lack. Due to this, when Sharks do attack Humans these attacks are often broken off without the victim being consumed. Such attacks frequently result in severe injuries, but are seldom immediately fatal, and victims are likely to survive if they receive immediate medical attention.
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