A Great White Shark Preserved In Formaldehyde In An Abandoned Wildlife Park


Photo: Garry Moore

Rosie the Shark is a Great White Shark that was preserved in a tank filled with formaldehyde originally on display at the wildlife park called Wildlife Wonderland in Bass, Victoria which ceased business in 2012 due to animal welfare concerns and operating without appropriate licences.

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Photo: Garry Moore

Crystal World & Prehistoric Journeys director Tom Kapitany moved the shark to Crystal World in 2019 in response to trespassers of the derelict wildlife park vandalising the sharks vitrine, raising concerns of a potential biohazard.


Photo: Garry Moore

The great white shark was humanely killed after becoming caught in the Lukin family’s tuna fishing nets on the coasts of South Australia in 1998. Seal Rocks Sea Life Centre initially showed interest in purchasing the shark from the Lukin family, but later decided against the purchase with Wildlife Wonderland purchasing the great white.


Photo: Garry Moore

As the shark was being transported to Wildlife Wonderland in Victoria, frozen in a refrigerated truck, it was impounded by the Government of South Australia because a woman had been reported missing, requiring an autopsy of the shark at the South Australian Museum. Following the autopsy, the great white shark was stuffed with dacron and preserved in a formaldehyde solution in a custom built tank.


Photo: Garry Moore

Founder of Wildlife Wonderland John Matthews recalled the operation of ownership as “It was a huge logistical operation, working with Melbourne Museum, and all up cost us about $500,000,” and further stating “We had to build a purpose-built room and the roof had to be removed and the shark craned in and put into a new, sealed tank.”


Photo: Garry Moore

In 2012, Wildlife Wonderland were reported to have been operating their business without appropriate licenses, forcing the wildlife park to cease business and surrender all animals to RSPCA Australia and the Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria.


Photo: Garry Moore

In November 2018, a video released on Youtube by urban explorer Luke McPherson showed inside the decaying wildlife park and later stumbling upon the shark tank. Months after, the Youtube video gained millions of views, prompting a rise in trespassing into the property to view the shark, with vandals also damaging and graffitiing the tank and its surroundings.

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