In 1997, Rosie the Shark was caught in a family’s tuna-fishing net and preserved in a formaldehyde tank before being abandoned. But now she’s being brought back to her former glory.
Rosie the shark would die after breaching their tuna nets, despite the fact that the men who discovered her had no intention of trapping an apex predator. The great white shark, caught off the coast of South Australia in 1997, was a two-ton beast with razor-sharp teeth that would be marveled at for decades.
Rosie the shark, who lived for 70 years, had traveled the ocean for dozens of years. Nothing, however, would compare to her adventure after death, when overwhelming demand for her massive body turned her into a tourist attraction at the Wildlife Wonderland theme park—long before social media made her famous.
Rosie the shark spent more than a decade in a bespoke tank soaked with formaldehyde after being transported to the park on a refrigerated truck. Rosie, on the other hand, was left behind when the park closed. An urban explorer took pictures of the well-preserved animal and posted them online so that everyone could see them.
When Rosie The Shark Was Still Alive
Rosie the shark was first seen in Australia in 1997, after she ate her way through a tuna enclosure off the coast of Louth Bay. The regional authorities decided to track Rosie down since seafood enterprises and local divers rely on those waters. Rosie’s species wasn’t yet actively protected, so initial plans considered tranquilizing her.
It’s no surprise that the incident didn’t create as much of an impact as the animal did. There were only about 70 million people online that year, which seems ancient in comparison to today’s 5 billion users. However, according to historian Eric Kotz’s book The Jawsome Coast, the shark’s adventure had just begun.
“After her death, she was kept in a freezer at Tulka, but everyone wanted to visit her,” Kotz added. Eventually, the tuna firm yielded and put it on display, and thousands of people came to view it, my brother recalled.
The monster piqued the interest of citizens and animal parks alike. The Seal Rocks Life Center made an initial offer, but then backed out, forcing Wildlife Wonderland to remove Rosie from competitive waters. She traveled 900 miles from South Australia to Bass, Victoria, on a refrigerated truck.
However, she was detained by the government before she arrived because a local lady had gone missing, and all eyes were on Rosie. Before John Matthews, the man who made Wildlife Wonderland, wrapped her in dacron and put her in a huge, custom-built tank full of formaldehyde, a gruesome autopsy cleared her of suspicion.
The Return And Restoration Of Rosie The Shark
Unfortunately for Matthews, he lacks the necessary authorization to own and display his animals. In 2012, the park was forced to close after being ordered to surrender all living animals. Rosie the shark was left alone in her tank for a long time until urban explorer Luke McPherson found it and brought it back to people’s attention.
McPherson posted a video to his YouTube account titled “Abandoned Australian Wildlife Park” on Nov. 3, 2018. “Decaying and rotting.” It has since received over 16 million views, raising awareness for the stranded shark. Regrettably, this awareness has resulted in frightening vandalism.
Locals began trespassing on the site within months of the video going public. They splashed graffiti on the glass of Rosie’s tank and even hurled a chair into the water. When the tank started to leak, McPherson smelled odors that could cause cancer and warned people to stay safe.
“The odors were so awful you couldn’t stay in that room for more than a minute; the formaldehyde had to be evaporating,” he added. “The tank was enormous and in horrible shape, with a rusted metal frame, shattered glass panels, and debris tossed inside.” “Wow, that’s creepy,” I thought after I got the light behind the tank.
When the landlord announced that he was considering killing the shark, social media campaigns to “Save Rosie the Shark” erupted. Tom Kapitany woke up in 2019 as the owner of the Crystal World and Prehistoric Journeys Exhibition Center. He took on the $500,000 cost of moving and displaying her himself.
“It’s a remarkable thing,” Shane McAlister, a Crystal World employee, said, “For starters, with all the destruction and everything that has happened to the actual animal park and to Rosie’s tank.” “I had to go down there and conduct a patrol to ensure that no more delinquents vandalized Rosie’s tank.”
Rosie the shark’s story is far from over at the end. Kapitany took the poisonous formaldehyde out of her glass case so that he could replace it with a safer preservative. However, his GoFundMe campaign to pay for 19,500 liters of glycerol to keep the creature alive and fix it has only raised $3,554 of the $67,500 goal.
“To bring her back and put her on display for people is a once in a lifetime chance, and I’m just really happy and proud to be a part of it,” McAlister said. “Rosie’s journey has been nothing short of incredible.”
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