Stunned tourists watch as a great white shark devours a seal at Alcatraz

Cellphone video captured the dramatic moment when a group of stunned tourists got a firsthand look at a great white shark’s feeding habits in the wild as it devoured a seal and left a pool of blood near Alcatraz Island.

The video is the first recording showing the shark’s feeding habits in the San Francisco Bay, said David McGuire, director of the San Francisco-based shark conservation group Shark Stewards.

“For me it’s pretty exciting and a sign that the health is returning to the San Francisco Bay ecosystem,” McGuire said in a statement. “We swim in the Bay every day at the Dolphin Club without a shark encounter. It’s why we call this month Sharktober.”

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In the video shot by Meredith Coppolo Shindler, startled tourists waiting for a ferry Saturday gazed at the shark as it consumed the seal at the Alcatraz Island dock.

The 8- to 10-foot shark gulped the seal carcass just feet from the dock, said McGuire, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.

A sea of red lingered above the water as the shark’s fins peaked from the ocean surface.

“It’s right under us,” a boy says in the video. “It’s Jaws. It’s Jaws. It’s Jaws.”


Soon after the feeding frenzy began, the shark disappeared.

“That’s the best thing I have ever seen in my life,” the boy said.

Great white sharks have been seen in San Francisco Bay in the past. Over a two-year period, five great whites entered the Bay with one shark entering four times, according to a study by the Stanford Tagging of Pacific Pelagics in 2009.

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Officials have documented only one shark fatality in San Francisco, McGuire said. Albert Kogler Jr., 18, died after a shark attacked him off Baker Beach on May 7, 1959, he said.

“The risk of shark attack is extremely low,” McGuire said.

In Southern California, experts say a possible record-breaking El Niño has been attracting dozens of sharks to the area as their food sources migrate to more tropical regions.

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