Great White Shark Mary Lee Turns Toward New York City, Could Arrive There Tonight

Mary Lee, the massive female great white shark that has captivated social media over the last week as she travels the New Jersey coastline, has turned away from the deeper waters of the Atlantic and is now heading directly toward New York City.

The white shark first made headlines last week, as the Inquisitr previously reported, when she was detected along the Maryland and Delaware coastlines, swimming north. Mary Lee has been known to prefer the region off the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas since she was tagged in 2012, but Ocearch researchers first encountered her in Cape Cod, proving it is not outside of her nature to travel so far north.

Over the last few days, Mary Lee has been detected numerous times off the New Jersey coastline, meaning that the shark remains active near the surface of the ocean. As ABC 7 points out, the white shark was detected just a half mile from shore near Seaside Heights on Sunday morning. Over the course of several hours, the shark surfaced multiple times in the area before turning abruptly and heading toward the deeper waters of the Atlantic.

By 9:30 p.m., Mary Lee was several miles offshore, and it appeared she had left New Jersey behind. As Sunday evening turned into Monday morning, however, the white shark started to turn gradually northward, “pinging” several times during the night. Around 11:40 a.m., Mary Lee’s tag signaled that she was heading back toward the Jersey shore, and at 2:00 p.m., her most recent ping showed that the great white had turned toward New York City.

In the last 24 hours, Mary Lee has traveled 75 miles as she swims off the New Jersey coast, and researchers have speculated about the animal’s course. At least one scientist has suggested that the white shark could be pregnant, as CBS Philly points out, but that assertion has yet to be confirmed. Mary Lee was last in Long Island waters in January of 2013 when she was detected off East Patchogue according to the New York Post, shortly before giving birth. Chris Berger, President of Ocearch, noted that the shark could be traveling to Cape Cod in order to deliver another pup.

While Mary Lee has avoided New York Harbor in the past, great whites are known to approach the shoreline at times, making it possible that city residents may be able to catch a glimpse of the massive predator in the very near future.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]