We've been fortunate at Monterey Bay Aquarium to exhibit three juvenile white sharks since 2004, each for a period of a few months. In each case, we returned the young sharks to the wild (equipped with tracking tags). And in each case, they survived and thrived.
The third release took place on February 5. The only difference is that this shark is carrying a Smart Position Only Tag (SPOT tag) that beams in his position via satellite every time his dorsal fin breaks the surface.
In just 44 days, he's traveled from Monterey Bay to Mexican waters just off the coast of Mazatlán.
It's exciting stuff, because it took the second shark we released 90 days to get just as far south as Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of Baja California.
It's also exciting because anyone and everyone can check the shark's position, in nearly real time, on the web. Just log onto the Tagging of Pacific Predators site (or link there from our site) and click on the Juvenile White Shark link.
In addition to the three sharks released from our Outer Bay exhibit, we've also worked with research partners to tag a dozen other juvenile white sharks in southern California waters. Since so little is known about their life history as juveniles, this is filling a huge void in the science.
And a better understanding of the movements of young white sharks in the ocean is essential if we want to protect them at this critical stage in their lives.
Where will the shark go next: Farther south? Up into the Sea of Cortez? Log in and find out.