Near-Threatened Greenland Shark Found Dead After Rare Sighting

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by: Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It’s not every day that one might come across the rare Greenland Shark. However, that was reportedly the case on March 7 in the United Kindom. Indeed, the near-threatened Greenland Shark was found dead just after the rare sighting. The shark was discovered on the beach in Cornwall. Just a few days earlier, a French organization, the Association for the Study and Conservation of the Selachians, had tweeted that a sighting had been seen off the coast of a French island.

Greenland Shark Found Dead

They said that the Greenland Shark was “stuck in very little water” at the time of the sighting. But it was able to escape the difficult situation and return to the sea. Then, just less than a week later a Greenland Shark washed up on the shore of the beach in Cornwall. Greenland Sharks are fascinating creatures of the sea. They are near-threatened species, which is a bit different than near-extinction. Because folks rarely come across the shark, marine biologists estimate that the population of Greenland Sharks is quite low. Another reason for not being able to see many of these creatures is that they typically move about 650 to 1640 feet below the surface of the ocean.

Early reporting on this particular shark suggests that the shark washed up on shore and died before being able to find its way back into the ocean. The problem, though, is that the dead Greenland Shark washed away with the tide before scientists could nab it and study it and find out what happened. Interestingly enough, the only other Greenland Shark sighting before this one in Cornwall followed the same script. The shark washed up on shore and died.

Greenland Sharks might be near-threatened, but the sharks do live quite a long time. So long, in fact, that they are the longest-living vertebrae out there. They average around 250 years but can live up to being over 500 years old in some cases.

Greenland Shark Facts

The organization that spotted the Greenland Shark got very lucky. Quite lucky, in fact, as the odds of ever seeing one of these animals with one’s own eyes is quite unlikely. Oceanwide Expeditions wrote, “It is understandable that people who take Greenland cruises may want to see Greenland sharks, but in fact the odds are rather low. This species was not even captured on film for the first time until 1995, and it took 18 more years for anyone to get a video that depicted Greenland sharks in their natural environment.”

So, it might be unlikely that the folks in Cornwall, U.K. catch a glimpse of another Greenland Shark anytime soon. As the sharks are quite rare and live quite a long time. Only time will tell.