The New Zealand police officer who helped retrieve film director Adam Strange’s body from a lethal shark attack is now the target of critics. According to stuff.co.nz, animal right activists have criticized the officer’s shooting of a great white shark as “gung ho” and “over-eager.”
The officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, was called to scene at Muriwai Beach when one shark attacked and dragged film director Adam Strange away from shore. There it was joined by other great whites, who eventually killed the swimmer. Officers arrived on the scene in an inflatable rescue craft and fired rounds from a Bushmaster M4 rifle in an attempt to scare the sharks from the remains. When the sharks did not disperse, the officer placed two shots into the head of the closest great white, which he believed to have killed it. Nearby lifeguards were able to bat away the other sharks with their oars and managed to retrieve the body.
“The shark was going for the person for 25 minutes while we were there, just insistently. It didn’t seem to be frightened of anything. It wasn’t frightened of being shot,” said rescue helicopter crewman Dave Walley.
The Muriwai lifeguard service and police department stand firmly behind the officer’s decision to shoot the shark. Since then the officer has gone into isolation, not wanting to be a focal point of attack by animal rights groups. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others believe that shooting the shark for its natural behavior was vindictive and unnecessary.
But the officer is not without public support. Many praise him for giving the Strange family a chance to properly lay to rest a loved one.
It is unknown what caused the shark to attack Strange. Great white attacks on humans are usually rare.