Warning to tourists after gruesome discovery at popular beach

Beachgoers are being urged to stay out of the water.

Holidaymakers are being reminded of the dangers of swimming at one of the country’s most popular beaches after a gruesome discovery in Queensland.

A photo taken on Wednesday morning on K’gari, on the eastern side of the island, reveals the remains of a stingray with two giant bites taken out of both sides of its body, while blood leaches into the sand. The sea creature was most likely attacked by a shark, according to Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University, Daryl McPhee.

“There's a large variety of different shark species there and several of those shark species really like to eat stingrays,” he told Yahoo News Australia. “A lot of the whaler sharks and also tiger sharks.”

The remains of the stingray on the sand.
Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University Daryl McPee said it was mostly likely that the stingray had been bitten by a shark. Source: Facebook

Dr McPhee went on to explain that it wasn’t a rare occurrence, with stingrays being part of these sharks’ regular diet. “Most shark species are opportunistic feeders, but they do like to feed on stingrays,” he said. And while it’s “a little bit hard to tell” exactly how far off shore this attack occurred, the Associate Professor said “that particular species [of stingray] does live in shallow water at times, so it could have happened anywhere”.

As for what was left of the sea creature, Dr McPhee said there is every chance that the shark was hoping for a second course, before the stingray washed up onshore. “It's already got a fair chunk of the meat off,” he explained, “and had that still been in the water, it may well have scavenged it later.”

He’s now hoping this discovery will serve as a warning to tourists on the island. “K’gari has always had a lot of sharks,” he explained. “The only reason why there hasn’t been too many shark bites there is because simply not many people swim there. So the more we swim there, the more bites I would expect to see on K’gari.”

Swimming on K’gari not recommended

Swimming in the ocean off K’gari is not recommended and is undertaken at visitors' own risk, according to the Queensland Government’s K’gari conditions report. “Marine wildlife including sharks and marine stingers are present in the waters,” it said.

Meanwhile the beaches are unpatrolled with strong ocean currents. People are also urged to take care around all lakes and creeks and at rocky shores with unpredictable waves, unpredictable depth. “Even a great swimmer can get into trouble," the state warns.

‘That’s scary’

The discovery of the stingray, just south of Champagne Pools along 75 Mile Beach, has horrified tourists on the island.

“Oh my god, that’s scary,” one person wrote on Facebook. “And people still want to swim in the surf of K’gari,” said another. “Dangerous place,” a third added. “Dingos on the beach and sharks in the water.”

While others said “you just have to be vigilant”.

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