Two men pulled off what was perhaps the most Canadian animal rescue mission of all time this week when they saved a large Greenland shark from choking to death on a moose.
Derrick Chaulk was driving along the coast near Norris Arm North in Newfoundland when he spotted what he believed to be a beached whale. The beached whale turned out to be a shark with a big hunk of moose hide hanging out of its mouth.
Enlisting the aid of another local man, Jeremy Ball, Chaulk was able to extract the moose chunk and push the creature back into the sea from whence it came. "He pulled the rope, and I pushed with my boot," Chaulk told CBC News. "Between the two of us we got him out into deeper water."
The mystery still remains, though, of how exactly the shark came into possession of the moose parts. According to Chaulk, people clean and gut moose near where he found the shark, often throwing the scraps and entrails into the harbor. The shark, he surmised, must have simply come across some irresistible morsels and literally choked on his own greed.
However, Jeffrey Gallant, of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group, believes that although Chaulk and Ball did the right thing by getting the shark back in the water, they would have been better served leaving the moose chunk in its mouth. "When you're man-handling a shark like this and trying to get it back in the water," he told CBC News, "the fact that its mouth was otherwise pre-occupied by chewing on the meat, you reduce the risk yourself of getting bit accidentally."
Safety seemed to be the last thing on Chaulk's mind, though, as he watched the shark head back out to sea. "It was a good feeling to see that shark swim out," he said. "Knowing that you saved his life."