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HomeLatest NewsDolphin attacked by sharks; Manly beaches closed

Dolphin attacked by sharks; Manly beaches closed

Taronga’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health has conducted a necropsy on a Common Bottlenose Dolphin which died on Shelly Beach in Manly on Saturday 21 January 2023.

The preliminary results found that the animal had evidence of underlying chronic illness, particularly some severe wounds around the tail. This suggests a previous encounter with fishing gear that would have predisposed it to being pursued by a shark, the team report.

Previously 21 January 2023: 

A dolphin with numerous shark bites across its body has died on Manly’s Shelly Beach.

Swimmers and riders were directed out of the water at about 6.30am this morning, 21 January, after reports of up to three bull sharks in the Manly area circling an injured dolphin in the shallows at Shelly Beach.

We had originally reported it had been euthanised but now understand it ended up dying before this was an option.

There are still a number of sharks clearly visible from drones in the bay, so the beaches will remain closed for the rest of today.

Swimmers out of the water at Shelly.


“It’s now over, as unfortunately, the dolphin has passed,” said Jools Farrell, Vice President of ORRCA, an organisation centred on the rescue and research of cetaceans in Australia, which include dolphins, whales, seals and dugongs.

The dolphin at Shelly Beach.

Ms Farrell told Manly Observer this morning:“We’re now waiting to see if it’s going to be taken to Taronga Zoo for an autopsy, but we’re still waiting on details.”

Jools Farrell speaking with Manly Observer Editor Kim Smee in 2020

After the shark alarm was sounded by the Manly SLS Club before 8am this morning, four members of ORRCA arrived on the scene, assisting in the handling of the injured dolphin.

“We’re thinking it was an unwell dolphin to start with, so that’s why it would’ve stranded on the beach,” said Farrell.

“In that area there are quite a lot of sharks around, and if there is a dolphin in the area that is unwell, that would attract sharks as they can sense it.”

“Any competitors not out of the water immediately will be disqualified!” Reader Cathy Kell reports overhearing at Manly Beach.

Participants in the nearby Manly Open Carnival were also ordered to evacuate or risk being disqualified.

Council lifeguards will determine and report to beachgoers when it is considered safe to re-enter the waters.