Hook the tiger shark

Hook the beloved tiger shark, with what appears to be a bullet wound to the head; photo by @Martiza Martinez

Tiger Beach at the Bahamas is famous for its frequent tiger shark sightings, which are enjoyed by scuba divers from around the world.

Divers invariably leave with fond memories of their incredibly close encounters, and some of the sharks are so familiar to divers, especially resident guides, that they've been given names.

Emma, a large female, is one such beloved shark. Hook, also a large female, is another.

But apparently these sharks, despite their celebrity status and high eco-tourism value, still have human enemies. That became clear recently when Hook was spotted with what appears to be a bullet wound to the side of the head.

Hook the tiger shark

Hook, pictured last May without the wound; photo by ©Joanne Pitts-Boulder

Shark Diver Magazine reported the sad news Tuesday on Facebook, posting an image captured by Martiza Martinez.

Martinez explained on her Facebook page that Hook was named because she had been caught by a fisherman and suffered a broken jaw, which "slightly hangs down on the right side of her mouth."

It seems that Hook, however, is quite the survivor.

After a long absence, she was sighted by members of a Shark Diver Magazine expedition to Tiger Beach.

A magazine staffer stated on the Facebook post: "I have not seen her since December of last year. She returned with a huge bullet wound on her. Someone tried to kill her.

“It looks like a bang stick was used, my guess is a spear fisherman? Or possibly she came up to a boat to steal a fish off their line and they tried to shoot her? The bullet went in on one side and out on the other. She looks like she is going to be ok. But the scar was horrific.

“She is pregnant right now and will be pupping in the next few months. Made me sad to see my old friend like this.”

Joanne Pitts-Boulder posted an image she captured last May, showing Hook without the wound to her head. Both images are posted with this report.

Shark Attack News quotes Eli Martinez, an editor at Shark Diver Magazine and among divers most familiar with Tiger Beach sharks, as saying that Hook is his "oldest shark friend out there."

Another diver, Debra Canabal, is quoted by Shark Attack News as saying that Hook's wound appears to be healing nicely: "The hole is basically closed and she's eating well."

Tiger Beach dive operations feature the use of bait to lure sharks in, which is why they seem so friendly. The sharks are not considered particularly dangerous to humans.

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