SHIP BOTTOM, NJ — Great white Mary Lee is closing in on Long Beach Island, tracking right off the coast of Ship Bottom.
She was pinged at 12:35 p.m. on June 5 just south of where Route 72 meets Long Beach Boulevard on LBI, according to Ocearch’s Global Shark Tracker
The 16-foot, 3,500-pound shark's latest activity generated a Twitter exchange between her and the Ship Bottom police. After she tweeted, "Someone surely wrote a bawdy song about Ship Bottom. Lyrics anyone?," the borough's police department responded, "No songs, we don't have anything you'd like here ... keep on swimming."
In fact, Mary Lee's Twitter presence has made her a social media sensation, as her Twitter following reached 116,000 — a major reason why she was named Ocearch's Shark of the Month for May.
Since Mary Lee was tagged off Cape Cod on September 17, 2012, she has cruised up and down the East Coast — from Nova Scotia to the Turks and Caicos Islands — for a total of some 40,000 miles. Her last appearance off the Jersey coast was May 2016, where she was tracked off Atlantic City before heading north to cooler waters.
Meanwhile, it's been nine days since Cisco — Mary Lee's travel mate for a short time — was last pinged some 30 miles off of Cape May. The nearly 9-foot, 362-pound immature great white was tagged off Nantucket, Mass., on October 7, 2016, and has traveled a total of some 2,300 miles.
Mary Lee and Cisco are among dozens of apex predators throughout the world that have been tagged by Ocearch researchers with global positioning satellite (GPS) devices in order to track their movements to better understand their behaviors.
Ocearch registers a ping when the shark’s dorsal fin breaks through the water, transmitting a signal that provides an estimated location. The group then displays a marker on a Google Earth map indicating where the ping was received.
This time of year, great white sharks leave their winter locations along the southeastern United States as water temperatures begin to climb and they head north to colder waters, according to Ocearch, the Park City, Utah-based leader in generating critical scientific data related to tracking (telemetry) and biological studies of keystone marine species, such as great white and tiger sharks.
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