Shark found alive at California golf course

A leopard shark that was found alive Oct. 22 at San Juan Hills Golf Course.

A leopard shark that was found alive Oct. 22 at San Juan Hills Golf Course.

San Juan Hills Golf Course in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., has been open to the public for more than 40 years.

But earlier this week, the Orange County area course, which frequently attracts all sorts of wildlife, including ospreys and mountain lions, got what is perhaps its strangest visitor yet.

A 2-foot long leopard shark was discovered alive on the No. 12 tee box at about 4 p.m. Monday by a marshal.

“He was doing his rounds and found the shark just wriggling around,” said Melissa McCormack, director of club operations.

After finding the shark, the marshal put the shark in the back of his golf cart and drove it back to the clubhouse. From there, the shark was put in a bucket of salt water and later released into the ocean at Dana Point, which is about six miles south of Laguna Beach.

“Once they put it into the water, it laid there for a minute and then shot off,” McCormack said.

McCormack said a predatory bird, either an osprey or a falcon, probably dropped the shark on the course, which is about two miles from the coast. The small shark also had some fresh puncture marks on its body.

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