BELMAR, NJ — Great white shark and Twitter celebrity Mary Lee has decided to stick around for a while. After more than a day of tracking silence, she pinged in heading toward Belmar at 3:28 p.m. today, June 3, according to Ocearch’s Global Shark Tracker.
The 16-foot, 3,500-pound shark was making a steady northbound trek to cooler waters until this latest pause, when it appears she made a sharp left and is now about 15 miles off the Jersey coast between Belmar and Asbury Park.
Updating her 115,000 Twitter followers, she writes: "I keep hearing about this Shark River over by Belmar. Let's go check it out."
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.
For great whites that travel the East Coast, this is the time of year that they leave their winter locations along the southeastern United States as water temperatures begin to climb and head north to colder waters.
For Mary Lee @MaryLeeShark, her travels have drawn particular attention on social media, and her growing Twitter following has earned her Ocearch's Shark of the Month award for May.
Meanwhile, it's been four 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.
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