Shark researchers have appealed for public help to hunt down an unusual and elusive catch in Wollongong - a student who picked up a valuable tracking device.
A 1.95m bull shark was tagged at Evans Head in northern NSW in January and has been tracked via satellite for the past four months.
The latest GPS readings shows the 'shark' sleeping in a University of Wollongong dormitory and visiting the campus library.
However, as sharks cannot drive or pursue higher education, the NSW Department of Primary Industries believes the tag has made its way into an unsuspecting student's backpack or car.
DPI researcher Dr Natalie Moltschaniwskyi has called for Wollongong and Shellharbour residents to help them get the valuable tag back.
"This person hasn't done anything wrong, but we are very keen to get the tag back as it contains crucial information about the shark such as where it has been, its swimming depth and feeding behaviour," she said in a statement on Friday.
"These tags are a great way to get a treasure trove of information without needing to catch the shark again."
The university has also sent a letter to students living on campus, asking for the state-of-the-art tag, which resembles a black light globe about 12cm long, to be returned.
The tag, which is designed to pop off the shark's dorsal fin after 120 days, washed ashore on Wednesday but time is running out to find it, Dr Moltschaniwskyi says.
"The tag only has a week left of battery so we are very keen to get the tag back before we lose track of it," she said.
"If you have it, or know someone who has it - we are keen for you to get in touch!"
Australian Associated Press