In light of the recent flooding caused by Hurricane Hilary, an image allegedly displaying a shark swimming next to drivers on a highway was widely circulated on social media.
Furthermore, the same image has been circulating consistently in the aftermath of nearly every significant hurricane, particularly within the United States.
Misbar investigated the widely circulated image and found it to be fake.
After conducting a thorough reverse image search, Misbar’s team determined the image making the rounds to be digitally edited.
The Image of Sharks Swimming After Hurricane Hilary Is Doctored
The picture of sharks swimming in the highway after Hurricane Hilary is digitally edited. The shark image was extracted from a 2005 image showing a kayaker being followed by a great white shark and then inserted into an image of a flooded street.
Clearly, the sharks in both images seem to be the same, yet the viral image underwent modifications such as altering the watercolor and removing the kayak seen in the original image.
It is worth mentioning that Ted Cruz, the former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and a senator from Texas, seemed to have been taken in by the hoax.
The Original Shark Photo’s History
The original image was captured by environmental photojournalist Thomas P. Peschak. Contrary to misconceptions, it is not a fabrication, edited, or digitally manipulated in any manner. In fact, Peschak's most renowned photograph was taken using a Nikon F5 camera and a 17-35 mm lens on traditional slide film.
This photograph was originally published in the September 2005 edition of Africa Geographic. The article featured a study of great white sharks in South Africa conducted by Peschak and biologist Michael Scholl. Opting for kayaks to study the sharks' behavior due to their sensitivity to the electrical fields produced by boat engines, Peschak and Scholl chose this method.
Tropical Storm Hilary Hits California
Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in California, USA, on Sunday night, bringing with it strong winds and causing flooding along the Pacific coast. The storm is currently moving toward Nevada after passing through Southern California. This part of its journey resulted in exceptionally high levels of rainfall and predictions of flash floods in Death Valley National Park.
As reported by “poweroutage.us,” approximately 57,000 people in the state are currently without power.
Across California, residents are taking precautionary measures by using sandbags to mitigate the flooding effects. This practice has been observed in various areas such as Long Beach and Palm Springs. The storm's impact has led to the closure of schools on Monday, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second-largest school district in the country.
Previously, Misbar's team had already refuted the same image, along with several other images that carried various claims about sharks and other species being present in urban areas of Florida during Hurricane Ian in October 2022.