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A 9-foot juvenile tiger shark that had its stomach cut open and its teeth and jaw apparently removed was photographed on a South Carolina beach this week.
The mutilated shark was discovered on the beach of an undeveloped island north of Hilton Head Island by a sea turtle protection team, who sent the photo to state officials, The State reported.
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Bryan Frazier, a shark biologist at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), told the outlet the shark appeared to have weighed between 200 and 300 pounds.
He also told the outlet the shark seemed to have been cut open by a human — and it wasn’t done by scientists, he added.
“They eviscerated it …. with a straight-line cut that wasn’t done by an animal,” Frazier told the outlet. “It’s really a strange thing to do.”
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE
Frazier said that it appeared as if the shark’s stomach had been removed — possibly to be examined — and the jaws and teeth had been cut out.
“It’s a bit perplexing to see why anyone would do this,” he said. “You hate to see anything killed for no reason.”
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Fishing captain Chip Michalove tweeted a picture of the young mutilated shark on Thursday.
“Tiger shark killed in port royal sound, jaws cut out and gutted. I’m all for keeping mahi, grouper, snapper, etc. but to kill an old fish just for the jaws is a bit selfish,” he wrote in the tweet.
Tiger sharks are legal to catch and kill in South Carolina, according to The State, which reported that fishermen can kill one tiger shark a day if it’s longer than 54 inches.
Michalove, known as the “shark whisperer,” told the outlet he’s worried that too many tiger sharks are being killed every year.
“Sharks that big can’t just be replaced,” he said. “I’m worried for their population.”
“Sharks are the lions of the ocean ecosystem, and killing them means killing a lot of species below them that we also rely on,” he added.
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