Kate White was taking a morning walk near Vancouver’s Kits Beach when she came upon three animals close to shore.
One was a heron, standing in the distance.
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Another was a seal, its head bobbing above the surface.
The third was — experts believe — a kind of shark that doesn’t usually swim in such shallow water.
The animal was likely an adult Pacific Spiny Dogfish, according to Lee Newman, curator of fishes at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Though he couldn’t be certain of the species based on the photo, he said this particular dogfish isn’t often seen in such shallow water.
The animal may have been hunting, but it could have also been in distress, he told Global News.
Though it’s not often seen so close to shore, the Pacific Spiny Dogfish is known to swim in the waters off B.C. in large numbers.
They tend to be concentrated in the Strait of Georgia, the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Hecate Strait.
They’re also a species that’s susceptible to overfishing — their vulnerability is exacerbated by factors such as a slow growth rate, a late age of maturity, slow population growth in ideal conditions and a long life span, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The Vancouver Aquarium advises anyone who spots an animal like this and believes it’s distressed to call them; staff there can then assess the animal’s condition and help as necessary.