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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, 9:30 p.m.
 

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. — Nobody yelled “Fore!” at a Southern California golf course when a 2-foot-long shark dropped out of the sky and flopped around on the 12th tee.

The 2-pound leopard shark was apparently plucked from the ocean by a bird then dropped on San Juan Hills Golf Club, Melissa McCormack, director of club operations, said on Thursday.

No one was teeing up when the shark fell Monday afternoon, although some golfers had just left the area, she said.

A course marshal, who makes sure players maintain an appropriate pace, saw something moving around on the tee and went to investigate. He found the shark bleeding with puncture wounds, where it seems the bird had held it in its grasp.

The marshal put the shark in his golf cart and drove it back to the clubhouse.

The marshal, McCormack and employee Bryan Stizer wanted to help the small shark, so they stuck it in a bucket of water. Then somebody remembered it wasn't a fresh water animal, so they stirred up some “homemade sea water” using salt from the kitchen, she said.

“We knew we had to get it to the ocean as fast as possible,” McCormack said.

She grabbed a photo of the shark before Stizer headed to the sea.

“When Brian put it in the water, it didn't move,” she said, “but then it flipped and took off.”

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