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Nurse Shark

Nurse Shark

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A brown nurse shark -- found dead on an Overtown street Tuesday night -- has been returned to its natural habitat.

``The shark was disposed of back into the water,'' said Officer Jorge Pino, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

``If a shark would die in the wild, it would be consumed by all the fish in the water.'' Investigators on Wednesday worked to find out who left the shark in the roadway -- apparently after unsuccessful attempts to sell the shark at a nearby fish market.

It was unclear how long the shark was dead before it was left on Northwest Fifth Avenue near Fourth Street.

The shark had been there since at least 7 p.m.

Wednesday, witnesses said, but police said they first received a call about 9 p.m.

``It was a relief that it was a shark,'' said Keith Smith, a local resident.

``When I first saw it, I thought it was a body because of all the shootings that have been going on.

I was surprised and happy because of my concern for human life.'' Officers with the FWC determined the shark was a nurse shark.

And as they prepared to take the shark away, a passerby told cops just how the shark got there.

Renato Martinez, 53, works at Garcia's, the fish wholesalers and restaurant on the Miami River.

He said two men biked to the store, and offered to sell the shark for $10.

Absolutely not, the staff told the men.

Those men must have dumped the shark in the middle of the street, Martinez concluded.

``I'm not crazy,'' Martinez said.

``I know it's the same shark.'' There were also earlier reports of men carrying ``large fish'' on the Metromover, police said.

It's possible a man fished the shark from nearby water and tried to transport it on the Metromover, authorities said.

``We're going to try and identify the person responsible for this,'' Pino said.

``It may not be easy, but we're going to try.'' The suspects, if captured, could face charges of trying to sell the shark without proper licenses and for willful and wanton waste -- for leaving it in the middle of the street.

The nurse shark, usually found in shallow water and not uncommon in the waters of Biscayne Bay, is not a protected species, Pino said.
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