Why Is This Great White Shark Lurking Off An Australian Beach?

A single great white shark has been repeatedly observed lurking off Warnbro Sound in Western Australia over the last week, prompting locals to question why the oceanic predator had decided to make its temporary home in the waters off Perth.

According to WA Today, a receiver that is part of a state government shark monitoring network has detected the great white more than 50 times in the last week. Situated just 800 meters off shore, the receiver first picked up the shark’s signal off Warnbro Sound on the afternoon of December 9, alerting locals to a new presence in their waters.

The shark has been spotted 52 times since December 9th by a government monitoring network.
A government shark monitoring network detected the great white over 50 times in one week.

Though it is possible that the great white has been elsewhere during the course of the week, Dr Rory McAuley, a senior shark scientist, observed that the behavior is unusual for the species which typically doesn’t remain in the same area for more than a few days.

“Most sharks that we’ve monitored have not spent long [more than a few days] in any one area, however a few have been detected throughout the metropolitan Shark Monitoring Network and associated acoustic receiver arrays for periods of up to a few weeks,” he noted.

“Thus, this detection period is unusual but within the spectrum of behavior that we’ve previously observed.”

Great whites are solitary predators, as the Inquisitr has previously noted, migrating to warmer waters as seasons change and following food sources. As Boston.com recently reported, a great white nicknamed Lydia, which was tagged off the coast of Florida early in 2013, has since become the most well-traveled shark ever tagged by researchers, crossing the mid-Atlantic ridge before returning to North America. Over the course of nearly two years, the great white has covered more than 27,000 miles.

Dr McAuley posits that the shark in Warnbro Sound is likely remaining there due to a concentration of prey, citing a seasonal gathering of fish as a possible reason for the great white’s extended stay.

“Snapper, which white sharks are known to feed on, commonly aggregate to spawn in Warnbro Sound at this time of year,” he asserted.

A research vessel has since been dispatched to the area in order to determine if any environmental attractants in Warnbro Sound could explain the great white shark’s presence.

[Images via WA Today and Ken Jones Fishing]