REDWOOD CITY (KCBS) – Researchers said Friday they are baffled why a dozen leopard sharks died in tide pools and sloughs off Redwood City over the last several days.

Canals that regulate tide flow may be preventing the sharks, which usually grow about five feet long, from escaping some kind of toxic discharge or other manmade pollution source, said Sean Van Sommeran with the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz.

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

“We’re mapping and photographing and making contact with the management for the nearby facilities that control the flow of water through those manmade canals,” he said.

Leopard sharks are a non-aggressive species that tend to ignore humans and can live up to 40 years. Van Sommeran said they are very common up and down the California coast.

“They’re a very important feature of the Monterey and San Francisco Bay areas, kind of a signature species of California as well,” he said.

Shark die-offs are not unusual, although Van Sommeran said they are becoming more common. The first calls on this one came Monday south of Foster City.

So far, this die-off appears less severe than more widespread incidents in 2006 and 2007. Researchers cautioned that other creatures succumbing to the unidentified toxin or pollutant could be floundering further from land.

State and federal wildlife officials are helping with the investigation.

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Comments (17)
  1. Jan says:

    I hope this is not a sign of radiation reaching us from Japan. There have also been many sick domestic animals lately, dogs mainly with no explanation of why….has everyone forgotten the danger this nuclear disaster poses on California??? PLEASE don’t let this be ignored.

  2. Janice says:

    Watching the “EURAD” maps on where the radiation is going makes you wonder, and they are estimating it will take up to 9 months to get it under control? No Guarantee, and all likely hood there will be more earthquakes. Not Good.

    1. robert ramirez says:

      more sad than what is happening in japan, is the fact that people here in the usa dont realize what is happenening to them.they live their lives,” happy go lucky “satified perhaps because they have an iphone or a new mercedes or god knows what ego boosting gadgets they yearn for.sad but true ! yet they are suffering from the japan disaster and dont even know it! this is a very serious crisis that not only are we beginning to pay for, but our children and theyre children etc. will suffer greatly .its a vicious cycle and we all get a turn in the tumble without a doubt.WAKE UP my fellow americans the alarm has begun to ring !STOP hitting the snooze because its not going to help! why? because at the end you’re still going to have to rise to the occasion whether you like it or not and face whats coming!