Eerie Carcass Of 12-Feet Great White Shark Found Intact In Abandoned Wildlife Park

It was 1991 when Charles Saatchi (of the Saatchi & Saatchi fame) commissioned a young artist, Damien Hirst to create a piece of his own choice. A budding artist then, Hirst had just unveiled his first solo exhibition that year. He was also one of the leading members of the Young British Artists – a group that was curated and supported by the Saatchi brother. Titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, it featured a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde. It is said that the shark had been caught off the coast of Hervey Bay in Queensland, Australia. Unfortunately, due to poorly executed preservation procedures during the initial phases, the shark was eventually gutted and its skin was stretched over a fiberglass mold. But when Rosie the great white shark was found in 2018 by YouTuber LukieMc, things were noticeably different. For starters, she was preserved perfectly in her tank in an abandoned wildlife sanctuary in Victoria, Australia. 

Rosie’s story began all the way back in 1998 when she was discovered tangled in tuna fishing nets off the coast of South Australia reports Daily Mail. Already dead, the great white shark was soon preserved with the intentions of being displayed at an eco-tourism center for seals. Considering that seals are a rather significant part of a great white’s diet, it only seemed fitting for Rosie to head there. Sadly, things didn’t go too well for Rosie. In the early 2000s, the park expanded its underwater display but failed to reserve any space for the shark leaving it stranded in its showcase. The shark was shortly homed in a small wildlife park dedicated to preserving Giant Gippsland Earthworms after that. 

The great white’s adventures were still not over. In 2003, the park, the shark and its tank included, was sold off. Though its original owner had been of the opinion that the shark should be donated to the Melbourne Museum, the park’s new owners didn’t agree. Over the years, due to the lack of adequate maintenance the park was eventually closed in 2012 for not having the right display permits and licenses. Though the other animals were surrendered to the RSPCA and the Department of Sustainability who rehabilitated them, the shark was unfortunately left behind, in its tank. And there it sat, in the darkness, for years, almost perfectly preserved, probably hoping to be found. 

While this might sound like something straight out of a horror film, there is a perfectly logical explanation behind Rosie’s perfect appearance. Formaldehyde. For the uninitiated, it is the most commonly used chemical to preserve dead bodies. Suspended in a tub of that chemical, the great white shark has fought the decay that follows death for decades now. Though time has tainted the solution through the widening cracks on the tank and turned it murky green, and though it takes a while to notice the great white lurking in its murky depths, the shark remains relatively untouched by the signs of time. 

A quick look around the abandoned building reminds you of the eerie underground facility in the award-winning video game, Portal. Though there are signs of life, there really is no one out there. Furniture, piles of clothing, weathered pictures and expired food dating back to 2016 litter the floors of the building. Though it might come across as a particularly creepy place to rest for the night, evidently it is quite a popular choice among the homeless, squatters and some fairly adventurous souls. Additionally, with the video about the shark going viral online, it has garnered a lot of attention from locals. 

In fact, it was after the video became popular that Australian artist and photographer Dom Krapski decided to go visit mysterious shark that lurks in the shadows of an abandoned wildlife sanctuary. Judging from his post, he wasn’t happy with what greeted him there. “Got told about this on the hush-hush a few weeks back and now it seems everyone knows about it thanks to YouTube,” he wrote on Instagram. “A couple of hours out of town, there’s a large white shark rotting in a display tank in an abandoned amusement park. Vandals recently tore the roof off the tank and I guess in a couple more weeks, this’ll all be gone,” he continued with his ‘word vomit’. 

According to Krapski, the act of the vandals tearing the tank open has lead to the evaporation of a lot of the juice that had preserved Rosie for all these years. “It’s only a matter of time before someone smashes the glass on the sides and this reverts to being urban myth and as opposed to an actual thing,” he continues. He also spoke about the time he saw a preserved giant squid in New Zealand a few years ago. The thing that still remains with him is the fact that what he saw was way different from the colorful squids he had caught as a child.  In fact, it seemed as if it was almost  tragic for him to see “the remains of the squid amounted to collapsed white flesh in a translucent soup.” 

“The same again here,” he continued about the abandoned sanctuary. “A friend and I bought respirators and drove out to see the thing today. The shed was easy to find; the shark itself was gross and boring. The fumes weren’t bad enough, I think, to warrant our outlay on safety gear. Peering into the tank, we could barely see anything through the cloudy fluid.” While a trip to the sanctuary seems like the ideal picnic spot for those who have the stomach for adventure, truth is, it’s wise to stay far, far away from there. At the end of the day, formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen if kept exposed for long periods of time. Exactly like in the abandoned sanctuary. In case you’re still curious about Rosie, LukiMc seems to have quite a few answers for you.