By Olamide Tejuoso
Calls for additional research into bull sharks, showing up in rivers, have gained more popularity in the United States, following the recent gory attack on a teen, Stella Berry in Australia for the heightened calls has to do more with the fact that this specie of sharks rarely swim in fresh water.
Giving circumstances around the unfortunate incident, BusinessInsiderAfrica reported that 16-year-old Stella was with friends, riding jet skis in the Swan River, located in the city of Perth in Western Australia, when her friends said she decided to jump in the water to swim with dolphins that had been seen nearby.
In the meantime, eye witnesses say that the girl was attacked by a bull shark, since bull sharks, great white sharks, and tiger sharks are the most common species to be involved in an attack.
The Australian fisheries minister, Don Punch, confirmed that it was still too early to determine the exact type of the implicated shark, but that it was thought to be a bull shark.
“We do know that bull sharks, particularly, do enter estuaries and freshwater river systems, so it is likely that may be the case”, Punch had told the Australian outlet ABC News.
A marine ecologist with Griffith University had stated that researching the fish would help researchers better understand them, as there are many more of the species out there yet to be discovered.
Many scientists believe that bull sharks are the most dangerous sharks in the world, which can be found in waterways all around the world and like to hunt at night and during the day in shallow coastal areas where people also frequently swim.
Bull sharks are known for their aggressive behaviour, which is also where their name derives from, and may grow to be anywhere from seven to 11 feet in length or more and weighing, between 200 and 500 pounds.
Bull sharks are known to enter and swim up estuaries because, unlike most shark species, they can stay in fresh water for long periods of time. Research has it that they can stay in fresh water for long periods of time.
Two bull sharks, according to records, made separate voyages up the Mississippi River in 1937 and 1995, swimming as far north as Illinois, according to a study released in 2021 by Ryan Shell and Nicholas Gardner. The study also recorded that bull sharks have made “rare appearances” in rivers on five different continents.
Bull sharks have long been a part of freshwater ecosystems, according to the authors, who also cited fossil records and the “physiological modifications” that allow the sharks to swim in freshwater. The study concluded that the “physiological adaptations” that allow sharks to swim in freshwater, in addition to fossil records, indicate bull sharks have long entered the freshwater ecosystems.