Before satellite tagging technology became feasible, it was
thought that great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), spent
of their time close to the coasts feeding on seals and sea lions.
With the advent of satellite tagging technology, many new behaviors
of the great white shark have been discovered. By tagging a shark
with a satellite transmitter, scientists are able to track the
movement of the shark for extended periods. In 2001, a shark tagged
off of the coast of California was tracked all the way to Hawaii,
3,800 km (2,280 miles) away. The shark spent the winter there
before returning to waters closer to California. Several other
sharks tagged off the coast of California also were tracked
traveling great distances from California.
More recently, in November of 2003, about 30 great white sharks
were tagged off of the coast of South Africa. Most of the sharks stayed
near Africa, but one of these sharks really surprised researchers when
it traveled all the way to Australia. This journey of 11,100 km (6,897
miles) took the shark only ninety-nine days. This is considered to the
farthest known distance traveled by a shark. The shark's tag detached
when the shark was just south of Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia.
Less than nine months later, scientists were truly surprised to find the
same shark back in waters near South Africa. Using identification
techniques with the dorsal fin, scientists were able to confirm that
this shark was the same one that had traveled to Australia in the previous
months. The total round trip from Africa to Australia and back is
20,000 km (12,400 miles), which is by far, the farthest known trip taken
by a shark. This dataset follows the shark from South Africa to
- Relatively direct route of the shark from South Africa to Australia
- Total trip of almost 7000 miles only 99 days
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Dataset ContactDataset DeveloperDataset Visualization Developer
- Dr. Ramon Bonfil, Wildlife Conservation Society
- Oceans, Satellite Tagging, Tracking, Shark, Migration, Animals