Galapagos shark was likely culprit in bite off Big Island, Hawaii officials say
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Galapagos shark was likely culprit in bite off Big Island, Hawaii officials say

  • JAMM AQUINO / July 16, 2015

    Galapagos sharks cruise off Oahu’s North Shore during a shark-viewing expedition with Hawaii Shark Encounters on July 16, 2015. State officials said Thursday that a Galapagos shark — and not a tiger shark — likely bit a 65-year-old California woman on her leg Tuesday at Anaehoomalu Bay on Hawaii island.

Authorities have determined that the shark that bit a 65-year-old California woman on her leg Tuesday at Anaehoomalu Bay on Hawaii island was not a tiger shark, and instead was probably a Galapagos shark.

Staff from the Division of Aquatic Resources at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources consulted with the former director of the International Shark Attack File to rule out tiger sharks as the species.

“It’s believed the shark was probably a Galapagos shark, 6-8 feet long, but a definitive determination can’t be made because it’s difficult to distinguish what are known as requiem sharks based solely on injuries,” the department said in a news release today.

The state shark website uses the term requiem shark to refer to any unidentified member of the Carcharhinidae family other than tiger sharks. That could include Galapagos, sandbar, blacktip, blacktip reef, gray reef and whitetip reef sharks.

The woman, Kimberly Bishop of Glendale, Calif., said a shark flipped her kayak and bit her right inner thigh. Hawaii County Fire Department said the bite was about 12 inches in diameter. She managed to scramble back onto her kayak. Her husband was nearby on a stand-up paddle board.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. several hundred yards offshore, near Waikoloa.

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