An investigation is underway after dozens of dead sharks were found washed up on a beach in the UK.
People on Prestatyn beach in Denbighshire, Wales, found around 25 to 30 of the sharks on Tuesday morning (June 6) and shared images of them on social media.
The small creatures were identified as starry smooth-hounds, or gummy sharks, due to their speckled white spots, reports North Wales Live.
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British Divers Marine Life Rescue has been notified and a marine expert has been at the site, attempting to piece together what caused the sharks' deaths.
Gem Simmons, North Wales Coordinator at British Divers Marine Life Rescue, urged people on Facebook to avoid touching and moving the sharks from the beach.
The marine expert tried to take samples from the dead animals but told the BBC they had "fallen prey to herring gulls".
"What we wanted was to take samples of the gills, to see if this has happened as a result of by-catch," she said.
"To find one or two is normal, but so many is worrying."
Simmons told the BBC it wasn't yet possible to conclude why the sharks had washed up. She also said there had been recent reports of illegal fishing in the area, although it remains unclear whether those reports are linked to the dead sharks.
She is working alongside Marine Environmental Monitoring to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Smooth-hound sharks are widespread in UK waters and mainly feed on crustaceans and shellfish. They live in coastal waters at depths of between five and 200metres and measure between 100cm and 150cm, weighing up to 4.8kg.
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