Status: 21/09/2023, 16:43 p.m.
By: Sandra Sporer
For 17 years, the sharks lived in the lake next to hole 14, although they are actually saltwater inhabitants. Now a study on the case has been published.
Brisbane – Bull sharks have some peculiarities that distinguish them from other shark species. Above all, according to the Marine Conservation Foundation, they are the only large shark species that can survive in freshwater for a longer period of time. Six bull sharks in Australia showed exactly how long. When they got stuck in the lake of a golf course after a flood, they adapted to their new habitat without any problems and thus impressively demonstrated their enormous adaptability. Researcher Peter Gausmann from the Ruhr University Bochum investigated the extraordinary case and has now presented his results in a study in the journal Marine and Fishery Sciences (MAFIS). Another team of researchers recently filmed the world's largest shark.
For 17 years, some bull sharks lived in the lake of a golf course after they were stranded there by a storm. The incident shows the enormous adaptability of the animals. © Viewing angles/IMAGO
Sharks are stuck on golf course after storms in freshwater lakes – and survive there for 17 years
What makes the case of sharks in the lake of Australia's Carbrook Golf Club near Brisbane so unique is that it is "the longest continuous duration in a low-salinity environment ever observed in this species," the study says. Even though the sharks in rivers often penetrate far inland and give birth to their young there, they normally return to the sea again and again.
In the case of the golf course sharks, however, this was not possible. After the young animals got into the lake due to a flood in 1996, they were then stuck there. And even though the animals were not continuously monitored and studied, it is still known that the next flood, which was severe enough to allow the animals to leave the lake, did not occur until 2013. Gausman can thus prove that the animals survived in the freshwater lake for at least 17 years.
Between 1996 and 2013, several sharks lived in the lake at Carbrook Golf Club after being washed into the lake by a storm. © Screenshot/Google Maps
Bull sharks in golf course lake were partly fed by the staff
Finding enough food was also no problem for the bull sharks. "According to the guarantor, there are a variety of fish species in the lake and many potential prey for bull sharks, for example, flat-headed greyflycatchers, yellowfin bream, Indo-Pacific tarpon and mangrove red snapper". In addition, the staff of the club fed the sharks meat from time to time "to encourage the sharks to come to the surface".
It is unclear whether the sharks are still in the lake of the golf course. "Sharks were last seen in the lake in 2015," says Gaussmann. A shark encounter in Spain was much less positive, as a result of which several beaches were closed. (sp)