Mary Lee In Danger? Great White Shark Has Company Off New Jersey Coast

Mary Lee, the famed shark, isn't alone off the New Jersey coastline, and while many think of great whites as an apex predator, her company may be one of the few animals capable of actually threatening her.

Last month, the great white caused a stir when she approached the New Jersey coastline before eventually turning south once again. This week, Mary Lee has returned to the Jersey Shore, creating a new wave of media interest, yet this time, she is not alone.

A trio of beluga whales were sighted farther south than usual earlier this year, making their presence known off the coast of Rhode Island. The belugas made headlines last month when they were spotted in Long Island sound, and have since been tracked by several agencies. As the Asbury Park Press reports, the whales have now moved into New Jersey waters, in the area of the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers.

The whales' location has concerned Bob Schoelkopf, founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, as New Jersey 101.5 reports, and he has called the rivers a "death trap" for other cetaceans that have ventured into them. Headwaters that move south make the waterways very difficult for the whales to navigate, potentially posing a fatal hazard.

While the belugas remain in northern New Jersey, and Mary Lee so far has only been sighted in the southern part of the state, it is not unreasonable to believe they may cross paths as the shark moves northward. Should that happen, there may be reason for Mary Lee's fans to be concerned. While great white sharks are often thought of as the most fearsome predator of the deep, there is in truth at least one species of whale that poses a grave threat to them.Last year, a cage diving tour off the coast of Australia observed a pod of killer whales cornering, torturing, and eventually killing a great white shark in a display that seemed intended to teach their young how to hunt, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Killer whales have been documented attacking white sharks in other regions as well, and in every instance, the killing forces the shark population from the region, as it signals danger to them.

The two species of whale are not the same, of course, and the young belugas are much smaller in size. Since the arctic denizens seem to rarely cross paths with great white sharks, however, it nonetheless remains difficult to determine which would be the prey and which the predator if the trio of beluga whales encounter Mary Lee.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]