shark rescue choking-SeaLifeAquariumDivers in Australia rescued a critically endangered grey nurse shark off the coast of Sydney that was being choked to death by a plastic cord wrapped around its gills.

With its head and gills tightly entangled in industrial strength elastic cord, the five-foot long (1.5m) juvenile shark was facing a slow and painful death, with the cord continually tightening as the young animal grew in size.

The distressed shark was initially reported by local diver Peter Simpson while diving at Magic Point off Maroubra Beach, which is home to one of a small and ever-dwindling number of Grey Nurse Shark colonies on Australia’s east coast.

Despite the risks associated with such an ambitious rescue, the shark’s labored breathing was a sign of distress and triggered a rescue attempt by a team of experienced handlers from Sea Lfe Sydney Aquarium, and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, along with New Zealand veterinarian Rob Jones.

They cut off the cord and administered antibiotics after forcing the shark into stretcher-like device that lifted it to the surface. The animal was then released back into the ocean with a vastly increased chance of survival.

There is believed to be around 1500 Grey Nurse Sharks left on the east coast of Australia.

(WATCH the rescue video below or READ the story from News 7 Sydney)

[Editor’s note: If you have trouble with the video, try reloading the page.]

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