Six bull sharks inadvertently made their home on an Australian golf course. Then they vanished

by Joanne Miller

For golfers, staying out of the water on a golf course is crucial, but at Carbrook Golf Club in Queensland, Australia, the water hazard was not just any ordinary hazard – it was home to six resident bull sharks. These sharks mysteriously appeared in the lake located on the landlocked golf course and remained there for 17 years, until they suddenly disappeared.

Bull sharks are known for their ability to adapt to various habitats, including freshwater environments. The presence of these sharks in the Logan River, which meanders around Carbrook golf club, did not come as a surprise to locals in the 1990s, as severe flooding in the region provided a temporary window for the sharks to enter. As the floodwaters receded, the sharks became trapped in the lake when the land bridge separating the river and the lake closed behind them.

Whispers of the presence of sharks began to spread around the golf course in the early 2000s, with reports of sightings and even a viral YouTube video capturing their presence. The club embraced the presence of the sharks, incorporating a bull shark into their logo and holding feedings at tournaments and events.

Dr. Peter Gausmann, a scientist and researcher from Germany, published a study on the Carbrook sharks, highlighting their adaptability. He calculated that the sharks would need to consume half a ton of fish per year to meet their energy needs, and their ability to survive in the lake for more than 17 years was unprecedented.

However, the sharks mysteriously disappeared, and their fate remains unknown. Sightings dropped after a severe flood in 2013, leading to fears that some sharks may have returned to the river or died as a result of the flood. While two sharks were confirmed dead, the exact reason for the disappearance of the others is uncertain. Gausmann speculates that illegal fishing may be the most likely explanation.

The absence of the sharks is deeply felt by the club, and plans are underway to fill in the lake and build a new course. Whether or not the sharks will ever return remains uncertain, but their presence at Carbrook Golf Club left a lasting impact. The club members embraced the uniqueness of having sharks within their golf course, and their absence is keenly felt.

The story of the Carbrook sharks is not only fascinating but also highlights the adaptability of bull sharks. It shows that these sharks can survive and thrive in various environments, including low-salinity freshwater habitats. While the fate of the Carbrook sharks remains unknown, their presence has left an indelible mark on the history of the golf club, and their story serves as a reminder of the wonders and mysteries of the natural world.

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