Shark experts monitoring the movements of a six-foot bull shark were baffled when the sea beast was seen apparently wandering around university campus.
Larger-sized bull sharks are thought to be responsible for the majority of near-shore shark attacks, but they haven’t as yet been confirmed as biting anyone on dry land.
The shark was tracked cruising around the University of Wollongong, browsing the book on offer in the library, and even visiting one of the dorm rooms.
Aquatic researchers Fish Thinkers said that the shark’s tag could well have fallen off in the sea off New South Wales, and been picked up on a nearby beach.
The tracking tags are fitted below the shark’s dorsal fin of sharks and are designed to pop off after for 120 days.
“Someone probably picked it up and either has no idea what it is or has forgotten it is in their bag,” the group said in a social media post.
“(They probably) don’t realise they are now being tracked.
“Time to hand in the tag … There will be some very happy researchers and you will have a good story!”
Department of Primary Industries scientist Amy Smoothey explained later that the tag had been picked up by a public-spirited beachgoer,
“He knew that it was valuable so he put it in his car amongst all the other rubbish that he picked up,” she said.
“As a result of the GPS satellite tracking we have watched this tag travel from Barrack Heights to Wollongong University and back for the last few days.”
The person who found the tag, named to only as Zoran, found the electronic tag while he was picking up rubbish on the beach while walking his dog.
New South Wales Sharksmart posted a message of thanks to Zoran on the organisation’s Instagram feed: “He knew it was important, so kept it, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it,” they wrote.
“And the hero of the day, Dr Robert Gorkin from the SMART Infrastructure facility.
“Robert was scouting around University of Wollongong spreading the word and came across the right person at the right time.”