Grandpa Wrestles Sick Shark Barehanded

Despite this Good Samaritan’s quick thinking, be wise and steer clear of sharks—especially when they’re lurking in the shallows.

Finally, a shark tale with a happy ending.

Last week, a 62-year-old Welsh tourist pulled a six-and-a-half-foot dusky shark away from toddlers—with his bare hands—at Bullock Beach on Australia’s Sunshine Coast after hearing cries of alarm.

As the shark thrashed about in shallow waters, whipping its tail back and forth, Paul Marshallsea (yes, that’s actually his name) and wildlife expert Terry Dale nudged the predator into more open waters, most likely saving its life.

Dale told the BBC that the shark's odd behavior might be attributed to an unknown illness. And although Jaws may have scarred many of us for life, sharks—even sick ones—are worth saving.

Because thanks to humans, sharks are disappearing from our oceans at an alarming rate. Three weeks ago, a staggering photograph of thousands of shark fins drying on a Hong Kong roof went viral, a sobering reminder of the plight of these ocean animals.

Globally, 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins—a staggering death count that's led to a nearly 90 percent drop in shark populations in recent years. The fins are the main ingredient in shark fin soup, a prized delicacy in some Asian cultures. In October 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill outlawing the sale and posession of shark fins. Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii have all enacted similar laws.

Even after his frightening encounter, Marshallsea gave a tip of his cap to his finned foe.

"I know it was dangerous, but it almost looked beautiful," he told the BBC. "You have got to have respect for a beautiful animal."

While an Australian coastguard spokesman told the BBC that Marshallsea "did a great job," he also discouraged against the "manhandling sharks."

Related Stories on TakePart:

• Are You Eating Shark Fin Soup Too?

• California Bans Cruel Shark Finning

• Shark Reportedly Saves Man Lost at Sea

Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy.  Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast |

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