By: Ellisha Rader Mannering
Great white sharks are the ultimate predators of the sea and creatures that many people fear. While great white sharks are only responsible for a small number of shark attacks, they are known as one of the largest and most ferocious shark species.
Huge great white sharks have recently been spotted near popular beach areas in Australia and other parks of the world. When a great white shark named Joan of Shark was spotted by fishermen near Ellen Cove in Australia, the beaches were closed and nobody was allowed to enter the water until the shark moved on.
Joan of Shark had been tagged and can be tracked with a GPS. This allows researchers to know the whereabouts of the shark at all times. The tracking device not only helps keep beachgoers safe, it also allows the researchers to learn more about great white sharks and their habits. The shark was first shot with a temporary tag but was later caught and fitted with a more permanent one in her stomach that will allow researchers to track her for at least 10 years.
Joan of Shark is the largest shark to be tagged and researchers are anxious to study her. She is more than 16 feet long and is estimated to weigh 1.6 tons.
“It is the first one we have caught of breeding size,” Mark Kleeman, Shark Monitoring Network project manager said. “It had signs of mating scars, with bites down one side.”
“This is very exciting and potentially a world first, he continued. It is something we have been striving for and it is great to prove we can handle an animal of that size.The main thing is that tracking larger animals opens up a whole new world. Lots of juveniles have been tagged, but to have a fully-mature female and get 10 years of data out of it is a big thing for us. We are excited by the potential of what this shark can give us.”
The researchers believe that Joan of Shark will soon move away from the beaches and out to deeper waters. They claim that she is only in the area because she could sense the distress signals of a large humpback whale which was beached earlier in the week and later died. They also warn that more sharks could come into the area over the next few days because of the dead whale.
What do you think researchers will learn about the newly tagged great white shark?