Monstrous Great White Shark Threatens Australia's Beaches

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By Jenille Cristy Maido | April 17, 2014 3:05 PM EST

A 16-foot great white shark detected skimming in the southwest coast of Australia lead popular beaches in the country to close down and residents near the area to avoid entering the water.


A diver dressed as Santa Claus feeds the sharks in Budapest's Tropicarium December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

A satellite monitoring system detected the shark's electronic tag and alerted researchers to warn the residents and tourists nearby the area to avoid the water. Residents complied and the popular beach in Australia started closing down to avoid the possibility of a shark attack or human-to-shark encounter. The researchers moved straight in coast to find out what the satellite had fed. The team found the humungous great white shark skimming along the waters of the southwest coast.

The shark was dubbed "Joan of Shark." It is a female great white shark which is 16 feet long and weighs an estimated 1.6 tons.

It was first found at about three weeks before the next encounter and had been tracked after by the researchers. Fisheries protection officers, fired an external electronic tag device which went through the shark's flesh.

Soon after she was detected near the coast, the researcher did their job and went straight in the waters to a more stable electronic tag in the shark's stomach. After almost two hours and a half of struggle, the tag was successfully attached. The electronic device may allow the researchers to track the shark down for 10 years the most.

The fisheries department believed that "Joan of Shark" may have skimmed near the coast after sensing a humpback whale that was beached and later died on the weekend.

"Obviously, with that whale incident and because of the distress signals that it would have sent out, it would have attracted sharks and they will probably frequent the beach for the next few days," fisheries spokesman Mark Kleeman said in a report.

The fisheries also said that this is the largest shark so far to be electronically tagged in Australia and potentially in the world.

A photo of the researcher's operation has been out in the net and has been the talk of some experts, enthusiasts and Australian people.

It is known that many have already been killed by a shark in the past years. This has even made a point of debate in Australia whether to capture these animals and kill them.

Meanwhile, researchers are making ways on how they can protect both the wildlife and people. The electronic tag will be able to transmit information about the shark's movement through satellites. The tag will also help them see and understand sharks' behaviour through the signals it sends.

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A diver dressed as Santa Claus feeds the sharks in Budapest's Tropicarium December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
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