Pictures of a massive dead Great White shark on the back of a bakkie are doing the rounds on email with the subject line saying “Caught at Monwabisi and Strandfontein Beach yesterday” – but experts have dismissed it as a hoax.
The grim images show the shark using a hook and trace still attached. Kalk Bay harbour master Pat Stacey says the pictures appear to have been taken in Australia.
He said it had been almost impossible for a shark that size to be captured and for it to be kept silent.
Stacey believes it was someone simply trying to create a sensation. Anyone who killed a Great White faced 10 years in prison or a R50 000 fine.
Earlier, a vigilante group threatened to lure Great Whites with hens stuffed with broken glass and to shoot every shark in False Bay, after Tyna Webb, 77, was killed by a shark in Fish Hoek. However, Mike Meyer of Marine and Coastal Management believes that it was just hysteria.
He said at least three people had confirmed that the shark pictures had been taken years ago. “It is a hoax and just as well,” he said. Meyer said Marine and Coastal Management had attempted to track the origin of the email but it was sent to so many people that it was difficult to find where it started.
He wished people would put the problem in perspective:”So few people are killed by sharks in comparison to hippos and other wild animals, yet there is so much hysteria around a shark attack.”
And these were not the first hoax pictures Meyer had seen.
“There is one that turns up every so often, of huge sharks near bathers off a beach in KwaZulu-Natal throughout a sardine run. But someone has just Photoshopped them – we have the first image in which there are no sharks.”