UNITED STATES NEWS

How a wandering white shark’s epic journey could provide clues for protecting them

Mar 11, 2024, 1:39 PM

As sharks go, LeeBeth is something like a long-haul trucker with gills and giant teeth.

Swimmers at the beach might not be excited to see the 14-foot (4.3-meter) white shark, but scientists following LeeBeth’s movements are thrilled that the big fish’s epic journey could provide valuable clues to help the species. And they’re curious where she’ll go next.

White sharks, often referred to as great whites, were made famous by the 1970s hit movie “Jaws.” They roam the ocean searching for their favorite food, marine mammals, and were once hunted without discrimination. Some scientists believe growing populations of seals in parts of the Atlantic Ocean are helping the sharks, which were designated a protected species in 1997.

Since getting her tracking device near South Carolina in December, LeeBeth has traveled more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) south and into the Gulf of Mexico, the scientists monitoring her every move said Monday. They watched as she made history in late February by traveling further into the Gulf than any previously tracked white shark. A signal showed her off the coast near Matamoros, Mexico, just across the U.S. border from South Padre Island, Texas.

The shark’s presence so far west indicates that this part of the Gulf of Mexico could also be important to other white sharks, said Megan Winton, a senior scientist with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, based in Chatham, Massachusetts. International cooperation is important to protect the sharks, whose worldwide populations are recovering from decades of overfishing, she said.

“We don’t know how many white sharks travel that far west, but it’s a good indication they do,” Winton said. “There are only a handful of sharks that have been tracked west of the Mississippi.”

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy collaborates with Massachusetts state government to tag white sharks, with more than 300 tagged so far. Thousands more have been tagged by other organizations worldwide, Winton said.

The conservancy paired up with fishing charter Outcast Sport Fishing of Hilton Head, South Carolina, to tag LeeBeth.

Chip Michalove, who owns Outcast, said LeeBeth turned out to be an advantageous shark to tag, as she had sent more signals back from the tracking device than most. The tracker sends a signal whenever the shark breaks the surface of the water.

“Not only one of the biggest sharks we’ve caught, but she’s the best-pinging shark as well,” Michalove said. “We definitely hit a home run with LeeBeth.”

The last time LeeBeth checked in was on March 7, when tracking data showed the great white to be about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off the coast of Galveston, Texas.

United States News

Associated Press

Takeaways from this week’s reports on the deadly 2023 Maui fire that destroyed Lahaina

HONOLULU (AP) — More than half a year after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century burned through a historic Maui town, officials are still trying to determine exactly what went wrong and how to prevent similar catastrophes in the future. But two reports released this week are filling in some of the […]

3 hours ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma man arrested after authorities say he threw a pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused him of throwing a pipe bomb at the Massachusetts headquarters of a group called The Satanic Temple. The Salem-based group says on its website that it campaigns for secularism and individual liberties, and that its members don’t actually worship Satan. Sean Patrick Palmer, […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Ellen Ash Peters, first female chief justice of Connecticut Supreme Court, dies at 94

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ellen Ash Peters, who was the first woman to serve as Connecticut’s chief justice and wrote the majority opinion in the state Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling in 1996, has died. She was 94. Peters, who also was the first female faculty member at Yale Law School, passed away Tuesday, […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermont farms are still recovering from flooding as they enter the growing season

BERLIN, Vt. (AP) — Hundreds of Vermont farms are still recovering from last July’s catastrophic flooding and other extreme weather as they head into this year’s growing season. Dog River Farm, in Berlin, Vermont, lost nearly all its produce crops in the July flooding. The farm removed truckloads of river silt and sand from the […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court leaves temporary hold on New Jersey’s county line primary ballot design in place

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to order New Jersey Democrats scrap a ballot design widely viewed as helping candidates with establishment backing. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals considered a slimmed-down appeal brought by the Camden County Democrats after the county clerks — the officials charged […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

How a wandering white shark’s epic journey could provide clues for protecting them