Winter is here, and it appears even marine creatures are feeling the impact. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy responded to calls of two thresher sharks stranded on Massachusetts beaches, and said the sharks likely succumbed to cold shock.
The north half of the United States is battling bitter cold with a mass of Arctic air, according to The New York Times, with meteorologists saying single-digit temperatures could be here to stay for at least another week. And even sharks are battling the frigid weather. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shared on their social media they were called to two thresher shark strandings near Cape Cod in Massachusetts, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The conservancy said the sharks were both male, and probably stranded because of cold shock.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries marine scientist Greg Skomal told The New York Times, “If you’ve got cold air, that’ll freeze their gills up very quickly. Those gill filaments are very sensitive and it wouldn’t take long for the shark to die.”
Skomal said the thresher sharks may have been working their way south with the cooling of northerly waters, but could have gotten trapped by Cape Cod and stranded on the beach, where they may have died more rapidly because of the cold.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which promotes Atlantic white shark conservation through scientific research and education, gathered morphometric data and organ and tissue samples for analyzing once they thaw. They called on people to report anything strange they might see on Cape beaches, with a picture and location.
If you’d like to help out the conservancy, they put together a shark stranding response kit wishlist on GOODdler; you can donate here.
Images via the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Twitter