Bull sharks, aka Zambezi sharks, are some of the most aggressive of our grey-suited friends and are common in tropical waters all over the world. However, according to South African surf site Wavescape.co.za, the largest ever recorded was recently caught in the temperate Western Cape area of SA. This was unexpected news in itself. The fact that it was caught 5.5km inland was another surprise to scientist.
According to Wavescape:
Conservationists hooked the largest Zambezi shark known to science – a massive pregnant female four metres in length and weighing almost half a ton … up the Breede River, a large river that comes out near the southernmost tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas. It is the furthest south a bull shark has been found in Africa.
For a while now, fishermen have spoken about huge Zambezi sharks interfering with their lines in the river. More than a few have laughed at this claim.
The female was given the name Nyami Nyami after the Zambezi river God, and it was caught by professional fisherman Hennie Papenfuss on behalf of SA shark scientists who then set about tagging the beast before returning it to the river where they monitored it for 43 consecutive hours.
Wavescape reports that there already are several facts that scientists consider remarkable about this shark:
- Nyami Nyami is the largest Zambezi shark known to science (4m long and weighing between 400 and 500kg). The previous known maximum length is about 3.5m
- The furthest south Zambezis have been found is Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape. Nyami Nyami is the only animal ever observed in the Western Cape, and she is the biggest ever!
- 3 Nyami Nyami looked heavily pregnant, suggesting the Breede River could be an important nursery