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Local News

Great White Shark Likely Killed Seal Found Near Carpinteria

A Pacific harbor seal that was found dead Friday at Rincon Beach near Carpinteria had wounds that a local marine-mammal expert said likely were inflicted by a great white shark.

The seal, an adult female weighing 250-275 pounds, was found shortly before noon Friday, according to Peter Howorth of the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center.

“It had several jagged wounds in the abdominal area, and one wound on the bad of the left hind flipper,” Howarth said in an account posted on the Shark Research Committee’s website.

“The wounds were very fresh and not infected, indicating that the seal had been attacked within the last 24 hours, and perhaps as early as this morning,” Howarth said. “From the wounds, I believe that an adult white shark was responsible for the attack.

“It looked as though the seal was attacked from underneath around the belly, with the jaws closing on each side. Also from the wounds, it appears likely that the seal struggled and the shark bit a second time in the same area but more ventrally, resulting in massive bleeding and some tissue loss.”

Howarth said it was “quite possible” the seal was attacked near the Carpinteria seal rookery because the near-shore current was running east.

“The seal could not have swum far with such wounds,” Howarth noted.

The public is encouraged to report any shark sightings, encounters or attacks to the Shark Research Committee, which is a nonprofit organization that documents shark attacks and conducts research on various shark species.

The Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center’s hotline is 805.687.3255.

No warnings have been posted at local beaches following the seal attack.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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