Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

The 1.8 meter (six feet) specimen — believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish — washed ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

  • The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape
  • The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilograms)

SYDNEY: A boulder-sized fish of a kind known to “sink yachts” has washed up on an Australian beach.
The 1.8 meter (six feet) specimen — believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish — came ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend.
The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape featuring a flattened body and fins.
The fish can weigh up to 2.5 tons (2,200 kilogrammes), according to National Geographic.
A photo circulating on social media showed two people on a beach standing over the giant specimen, which had died.
“The amount of news and media from all over the world wanting to report it has been on another level,” Linette Grzelak, who posted the image to Facebook, told AFP.
“Never expected this.”
South Australian Museum fish collection manager Ralph Foster said the fish was actually at the smaller end of the scale for the species.
It earned its name for basking in the sun near the ocean’s surface, but is also known to dive several hundred meters (feet) into the depths, he said.
“I’ve actually had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters,” Foster told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“They can get a lot bigger... it’s probably an average-sized one, they can get nearly twice as big as that,” he added.
Mola Mola have also been known to damage vessels, Foster added.
“We get a lot of them hit by boats and some of them are so large they actually sink yachts,” he said.
“We know very little about them, it’s only in the last few years that technology has allowed us to start learning about them.
“They are amazing things, they really are.”


Tiger attacks Kansas zoo keeper after ‘error’ brought two together

This Nov. 2018 file photo shows Sanjiv, a Sumatran tiger at the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas. (AP)
Updated 21 April 2019
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Tiger attacks Kansas zoo keeper after ‘error’ brought two together

  • A tiger mauled a worker at England’s Hamerton Zoo Park in 2017, and last year a zoo worker in the Japanese city of Kagoshima was killed by a tiger, according to media reports

WASHINGTON: A rare Sumatran tiger attacked a worker at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas on Saturday, wounding the back of her head and neck before other staff members were able to coax the animal away with food, officials said.
The zoo keeper was alert and awake when she was rushed to a hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, city of Topeka spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said by phone.
The victim, the primary tiger keeper at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center, was in the predator’s outdoor habitat when she was attacked, zoo director Brendan Wiley said at a news conference.
Somehow, the 7-year-old male tiger named Sanjiv entered the habitat, which is never supposed to happen when a person is present, Wiley said.
“There was some sort of error that occurred here,” Wiley said, adding that the incident was under investigation. “Some of our staff witnessed some things that you hope you go through a career without witnessing.”
Some visitors also saw Sanjiv injure the worker, who suffered lacerations and punctures to her head and neck, and also was wounded on her back and an arm, he said.
After about 10 minutes other staff members were able to lure the tiger into an indoor pen using its food ration, Wiley said.
The zoo was closed for 45 minutes after the attack and its six tigers, including Sanjiv and his four cubs, were kept in their pen. All the tigers except Sanjiv were later allowed back to the outdoor exhibit area.
Zoo officials did not plan any repercussions for Sanjiv.
“Sanjiv this morning did exactly what a tiger would when something comes into his territory,” Wiley said, adding there was “absolutely no consideration to euthanize Sanjiv.”
Tigers have killed several workers at zoos over the last few years.
In 2016, a male Malayan tiger killed a worker at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society in Florida.
A tiger mauled a worker at England’s Hamerton Zoo Park in 2017, and last year a zoo worker in the Japanese city of Kagoshima was killed by a tiger, according to media reports.
Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, with fewer than 400 living in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.