A juvenile great white shark found washed up on Sydney’s popular Manly beach has returned to the ocean, with experts optimistic about his survival.
The 1.8-metre-long shark, nicknamed “Fluffy”, was found thrashing around on the shore on Monday and taken to a nearby ocean pool to rest, before spending the night at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary aquarium.
Experts determined the best course of action was to take him out into deeper waters so the animal didn’t become stranded again.
The shark was released from a boat four kilometres off Sydney about 2.30pm on Tuesday.
The sanctuary’s life sciences manager, Rob Townsend, said it was unusual to see sharks wash up because they’re strong swimmers.
“We have been involved in dozens of rescues over the years but this one was certainly unique,” he said.
“It was truly a privilege to work with this species and it is always great to be able to release an animal like this back to the wild and to see the amount of public support he had.”
The rescue mission was tricky at times because the creatures don’t do well in enclosed areas.
“We had lots of divers in the tank last night making sure he didn’t bump into the walls,” Townsend said on Tuesday.
Experts say they have “high hopes” for the animal’s survival.
“From the condition he was first found in, flopping around on the rocks, to even just a few hours later to see how well he was swimming in the tank – it’s an indication whatever it was that caused him to end up on the rocks is something he can deal with,” Townsend said.
It remains a mystery as to why Fluffy tried to beach himself, but Townsend was able to shed some light on how the shark got its unusual nickname.
“It was something I just kind of said off the top of my head to some kids at the pool and too many people heard it,” he laughed. “But we have to combat the bad image of sharks.”