A monster 16-foot Australian great white, which the locals are calling “Joan of Shark,” was detected by a satellite monitoring device dangerously close to the country’s southwest coast, forcing authorities to close a popular beach.
The electronic tag attached to the Australian shark sent signals alerting beach-goers to stay out of the waters on Wednesday.
At the same time, a team of researchers jumped on their boat and went into the Ocean to try to locate the creature, and were able to capture a frightening picture that shows the great white shark on on its back, after being tagged by the group.
The 16-foot-long great white weighs approximately 1.6 tons and is the largest of its kind to have been tagged with an electronic monitoring device, according to the British publication Telegraqph.
The tracking method comes with much criticism for the Department of Fisheries, which attempts to keep swimmers and divers safe from the great white sharks that inhabit that area of Australia.
However, now that the monster female carnivore has been spotted and photographed, it has shocked residents and tourists alike.
The massive great white shark was captured on March 30 off King George Sound, south of Perth, Australia, and fitted with an internal tag, in what marine biologists call a “groundbreaking” opportunity. The animal was later released.
‘Joan of Shark’ is one of many that are part of the tagging program, which scientists use as an alternative to culling.
Since March 30, the monster female white shark has been detected several times around Albany beaches, including nine times this past Saturday.
The stunning photo speaks for itself:
— Brad Luck (@BradLuckNBC) April 16, 2014
Biologists spent several hours surgically tagging the great white shark off the west coast of Australia, and are optimistic that they will be able to track its whereabouts for the next 10 years.
Mark Kleeman, project manager for the Shark Monitoring Network, calls the procedure “unprecedented” in comments to the New Castle Herald:
“This is very exciting and potentially a world first. Lots of juveniles get tagged, but to have a fully mature female and get 10 years of data out of it is a big thing for us.”
“We are excited by the potential of what this shark can give us. We will be able to see where it is traveling and how often. Over time we will be able to build the data and then we can see if there are any pasterns forming, which is a great start for understanding more about them.”
The process of inserting the tag into the great white shark took more than two hours, during which biologists used ropes to stabilize the predator, and rolled her upside down in the water. The tag was inserted via an incision in a procedure that took about five minutes. All of this was done while the creature was still in the Australian waters.
[Image via Shutterstock]