Shark that became tourist attraction in Spain dies after moving to aquarium

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MADRID, Spain -- A shark captured in shallow waters where it had become a daily lure for tourists on a beach died Wednesday at the Barcelona Aquarium.

Biologists had said they did not expect the 7-foot female sandbar shark to survive because it stopped swimming after being brought to the aquarium Monday and needed help from to keep moving and thus breathing.

An autopsy will be carried out to determine the cause of death, the aquarium said. Preliminary tests results showed the shark had died due to a 2 1/2-inch hook caught in its esophagus, the national news agency Efe reported.

Biologists captured the shark Monday in knee-high water at a beach called Miracle in Tarragona province, grabbing it with bare hands and dragging it ashore.

The shark first turned up early last week and became a novelty by swimming regularly into plain view in very shallow waters. Authorities closed the beach to bathers.

After the shark was taken to the aquarium, biologists determined that its dorsal fin had been punctured by a harpoon and it had some kind of internal problem, possibly from swallowing an object.

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