In a rare sighting, a hammerhead shark was spotted Tuesday off the southern Israeli coast.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority said the shark was located in a marine nature reserve near Ashdod.
The authorities received a report of the hammerhead shark from a local fisherman, and rushed to the scene to document the rare sighting.
"I got very excited and immediately took out the camera," said the marine inspector, Evyatar Ben-Avi, who documented the remarkable creature. "I got to watch it with inspector Sergei for half an hour. It stayed near us and we were very surprised that it wasn't afraid and didn't swim away."
Ben-Avi said that the shark was about three meters long. "This is a rare sighting, that hasn't been seen in over a decade, and I'm happy that we have new information about this species in the Mediterranean Sea," he said.
The Mediterranean continues to awe nature lovers with exotic wildlife sightings. Only several days prior, a sunfish was also spotted in nearby waters.
However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed hammerhead sharks as species at risk of extinction in the Mediterranean Sea.
"In the past, there were dozens of hammerhead sharks," said Dr. Ruthy Yahel, a marine ecologist from the Nature and Parks Authority.
"For about 15 years hammerhead sharks were rarely spotted at all, and we're very happy about this encouraging sighting."
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority reminded the public that hammerhead sharks are a protected species.
In case they are caught in a net or a fishing rod, they must be released immediately, the authority said.
First published: 12:56, 04.06.22