An unlikely campaign is growing to save a taxidermied five-metre great white shark discovered languishing in a tank in an abandoned wildlife park.
Rosie, as the shark has been dubbed, has been alone in her tank at Victoria’s former Wildlife Wonderland since 2012.
The shark was captured in tuna fishing nets off South Australia in 1998. Her stuffed body was sent to the park at Bass, south-east of Melbourne, temporarily but she was left there to rot when Wildlife Wonderland closed seven years ago.
Earlier in February, Luke McPherson posted footage to his YouTube channel of Rosie languishing in the tank.
“I didn’t come here for the shark but was compelled after the park shut down because I came here growing up,” he told the Seven Network.
“The tank was huge and in bad condition, with a rusting metal frame and smashed panels of glass and trash thrown inside.
“Once I got the light behind the tank I was like ‘wow, that’s creepy.”
Mr McPherson said fumes from Rosie’s tank were so bad he could stay in the same room for only a minute.
Mr McPherson’s YouTube footage attracted international attention. It also led to the establishment of the Save Rosie the Shark Facebook page, which has nearly 4000 followers.
There have also been some unwelcome visitors for Rosie.
“Vandals have trespassed into the private property and tried their best to smash Rosie’s tank. The glass is over three inches (7.5 centimetres) thick, and neighbours believe these vandals have used sledge hammers to try and break the glass,” a post on the Facebook page says.
“Large cracks have now appeared and the dangerous liquid, formaldehyde, is slowly seeping from the tank out into the open.
“We need to act fast and save Rosie. She needs to be given the final resting place she rightly deserves.”
The page’s organiser has urged people not to enter the abandoned wildlife park.
“As much as we all want to save Rosie, I do not condone trespassing onto private property to go take videos and photos of her,” they said.
“Police locked the shed her tank is in and already vandals have broken the lock to get in.
“Please do not go onto this private property. We want to save her remains but do it the proper, legal way.”
Police have also implored people to stay out of the abandoned park.
“This location is on private property, so we advise the public not to attend the area,” they wrote on the Bass Coast police area’s Eyewatch Facebook page on Friday.
“You run the risk of being charged with trespassing offences.”
PLEASE KEEP AWAY Police are aware of a great white shark floating in a tank of formaldehyde in an abandoned location…
The Save Rosie the Shark page’s organiser wants the taxidermied great white to be rescued by a museum or aquarium – or even another wildlife park.