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Researchers find body parts in tiger shark's stomach

Chase Winter
December 27, 2019

The body parts were found as part of a shark-catching program to reduce attacks off the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. They are believed to be those of a man who went missing earlier in December.

Tiger Shark
Image: picture-alliance/wildlife

Two human arms and a bracelet were found in the stomach of a tiger shark caught off the coast of the French island of La Reunion, officials said Friday.

Read moreTiger sharks feast on songbirds, study shows 

The 3.4-meter (11-foot) predator was caught as part of research to reduce the risk of attacks in the Indian Ocean tourist paradise, where 24 shark attacks have occurred in the past nine years, 11 of which were fatal. A fisherman and a surfer died this year after confirmed shark attacks.

As is the case for each shark collected under the preventive fishing program, it was dissected by scientists.

Tiger shark
Tiger sharks are known for eating a broad array of creatures and are second only to great whites in recorded fatal attacks on humansImage: picture-alliance/Design Pics/D. Fleetham

The poor state of the human remains found in the stomach indicated that they were not ingested within the last 48 hours, officials said, according to local news website Clicanoo.

Read moreAustralia tiger sharks killed after attack on tourists near Great Barrier Reef

The family of a man who went missing while out in the water in mid-December identified the bracelet found in the shark's stomach, AFP news agency reported.

It is unclear whether the man drowned and was subsequently eaten, or was killed in a shark attack.

The case is reminiscent of that of a Scottish man who disappeared from a popular snorkeling lagoon off the island early in November. His forearm was found in the stomach of another tiger shark caught two days after he went missing.

His wife identified the wedding ring found inside the shark. It has yet to be determined whether the man drowned or was killed by the shark.  

Surfing and other activities outside protected lagoons have been restricted on La Reunion since 2013 due to the danger of shark attacks. 

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