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IPFS News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

Forget Bears... Now Coked-Out Sharks Might Lurk Off Florida Coast

• by Tyler Durden

Tom "The Blowfish" Hird and the University of Florida environmental scientist Tracy Fanara conducted a series of tests to see whether sharks off Florida's coast may have ingested bales of cocaine ditched by drug smugglers en route to the US, according to Live Science.

The deeper story here is the way that chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and illicit drugs are entering our waterways — entering our oceans — and what effect that they then could go on to have on these delicate ocean ecosystems," Hird said. 

A recent United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report showed a spike in global cocaine demand and supply. Major South and Central America to US routes are through the Caribbean Sea. There have been many reports over the decades of drug smugglers ditching bales of cocaine or sinking vessels due to hitting reefs. And it's not unreasonable to believe marine life has ingested this drug. 

In one experiment, Hird and Fanara created packages similar in size and appearance to real cocaine bales. They observed sharks heading straight for the bales and taking bites from them.

To investigate further, Hird and Fanara design three experiments to see how sharks react to bales of "cocaine" dropped in the water. They create packages similar in size and appearance to real cocaine bales. In the first, they set these pseudo-bales next to dummy swans to see what the sharks go to. To their surprise, the sharks head straight for the bales, taking bites from them. One shark even grabs a bale and swims off with it.