The sixth great white shark we've exhibited is back in the wild.
According to Manny Ezcurra, our associate curator of elasmobranchs, “The transport and release went very well. The shark swam off looking strong, and very relaxed as he swam. He circled the boat a couple of times and then we lost sight of him.”
The shark is carrying not one but two electronic tags -- a first for our research program. As with all the young great whites we've kept on exhibit, he was fitted with a tracking tag that will documents his movements in the wild for the next 180 days, then pop free and deliver the data via satellite.
Our research partner Dr. Chris Lowe with the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach also implanted an acoustic tag with a five-year battery life that will report in every time the shark swims past one in a growing network of coastal monitoring buoys in southern California and Baja California.
We're hoping to learn what changes –- if any -– occur in the shark's travels as he matures. This is a critical piece of information that can help wildlife agencies manage and protect young great white sharks in the waters where they spend their early years.
Counting the two tags placed on the shark released today, we and our research partners have placed 46 tracking tags and eight acoustic tags on young great whites since the program began in 2002.
We'll resume our field tagging work next summer, and hope to bring a seventh shark to Monterey for a short stay.
If you missed seeing this shark, here's a beautiful video clip shot by a visitor on Monday -- the last day the shark was on exhibit: