A 6-year-old boy swimming in shallow water near Juno Beach Pier in Jupiter, Fla., is recovering after being bitten by a shark, NBC affiliate WPTV reports.
Shortly after the incident, audio of the 911 emergency call was released.
"We got a little kid who's leg is bleeding pretty bad," a man can be heard telling emergency dispatchers.
After the man describes the size of the boy's wound, the emergency responder goes on to ask, "Was he bitten by a shark or something?"
"It looks like it. We're not sure," the man answers. "We're guessing a shark, it's a pretty big gash."
The station reported that the boy, Nickolaus Bieber, was flown to a nearby hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
Doctors later confirmed that the boy's wound was inflicted by a shark bite. While doctors are not sure what kind of shark was responsible, Cristina Bieber, Nickolaus' mother, said in a news conference that her son believed it to be a bull shark.
George Burgess, director of a shark research program at the Florida Museum of Natural History told the Palm Beach Post that the attack could have been a result of rough surf caused by Tropical Storm Debby. Large storms can push smaller animals closer to shore, leading sharks to follow in search of food.
When ABC News reported on several shark attacks in Florida this past spring, Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, pointed to changes in the environment as one potential explanation.
“Environmental factors that we’re suffering on land could also be happening in the water such as climate change, lack of food sources, which changes migratory patterns, and you have 80 million or more tourists that come to those waters, so it’s no surprise accidents happen,” Cousteau told ABC News.
According to USA Today, the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File, which is led by George Burgess, shows that there were 75 shark attacks worldwide last year. Twelve of those attacks resulted in death.
Burgess noted that despite these attacks, humans pose a much greater threat to sharks than the other way around, particularly in the form of over-fishing.
"We're killing 30 to 70 million sharks per year in fisheries -- who's killing who?" Burgess told the paper.
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