A female Zambezi shark has been mooching around in the Breede River for the last couple of weeks, making forays as far as 30km upstream. And bang goes the populist idea that sharks don’t like fresh water.
Late last month, researchers from the South African Shark Conservancy unit got a grip on the big fish, collected a little data, tagged her and let her go. At 4m long, she is the largest of her kind ever measured.
In a burst of humour, researchers from the South African Shark Conservancy unit have named her Nyami Nyami, after the river god who lives in the Zambezi River and not because she’s swimming around smacking her chops.
Thirty kilometres from the sea! Think about that if you’re planning to go swimming in the Breede any time soon.
Still, what a beautiful shark, as the illustration above – from the Biodiversity Explorer - shows.
can this pregnant shark produce an offspring, which can lead to a population of sharks that prefers fresh water?
Jacob, interesting question. I’ll ask the shark guys and post an update as soon as I know.
Do we have any idea of the size of any shark population in the river, and are the Zambezi Sharks in the river protected? – so we do not have fishermen trying to wipe out such an interesting find.
I spoke to a researcher at SASC who said only one shark, Nyami Nyami, was in the river at present. But they are keeping a close eye on her.
Paul, do you know who tagged the shark or where to contact them?
It’s my understanding that the Zambezi shark is related to the Bull shark that can live in fresh water, a very dangerous shark. We have spotted a bull off our crystal coast in NC was was 12 feet long.
Howard, Zambezi sharks and bull sharks are the same species, Carcharhinus leucas.
It is notable that other names for the shark include freshwater whaler, estuary whaler, and Swan River whaler (Australia) and river shark – which indicate its liking for fresh water.
According to http://www.adventuredivingsafaris.co.za, bull sharks have killed cattle as far as 200km up the Zambezi River.
The same as a Bullshark. It has long been know to swim in salt brackish or fresh water. Also is responsible for more shark attacks than any breed here in Florida, where I live.
Bull sharks are territorial, and will attack like a dog guarding their own yard, just to chase you away from his or her territory.
Along the Natal south coast in the late fifties, a Lazy Grey shark (a known man-eater) attacked seven bathers — five fatally — over a six-month period. It created a world record and a Jaws-like panic.
Back then, the Durban Undersea Club’s Marine Study Group always referred to the Lazy Grey by a different name: Zambezi River Shark, Zambi for short.
So you guys down by the Breede River, if you know what’s good for you, keep out of the water.
what is the closest town to where this shark was tagged in the breede river?