OCEARCH tracks great white shark Mary Lee near Cape Fear coast

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Mary Lee has come the closest the the Cape Fear coast in the last year. The photo is taken from an interactive tracking map generated by OCEARCH.

WILMINGTON – Great white shark Mary Lee has come the closest to the Cape Fear coast she has been in the past year. The 16-foot shark pinged off Wilmington’s coast yesterday.

Mary Lee  is one of many sharks tagged and tracked by OCEARCH, a nonprofit research organization that monitors, among other things, the migratory patterns of great white, tiger and other sharks. The sharks monitored by OCEARCH are tagged with a GPS device and the sharks “ping” when they break the water’s surface.

A researcher with OCEARCH helps pull great white shark Mary Lee aboard to tag her with a tracking device last year. Photo courtesy Ocearch.
A researcher with OCEARCH helps pull great white shark Mary Lee aboard a ship last year to tag her with a tracking device. Photo courtesy of OCEARCH.

Mary Lee’s latest ping near the Cape Fear coast came in at 12:25 p.m. Monday, according to the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker. It’s her closest ping to Wilmington in the last year. She pinged near Wilmington’s coast several times in June, but not as close as her ping Monday afternoon.

The 3,456 pound female great white traveled more than 119 miles in the last 72 hours. She was initially tagged in Cape Cod,  Massachusetts, on Sept. 17, 2012, and has since traveled a total of more than 34,000 miles. Her Twitter handle has 100,000 followers.

Within the last year, Mary Lee has traveled up and down the Atlantic coast as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Georgia. Mary Lee was named after OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer’s mother.

To see the tracking patterns of Mary Lee and other sharks tagged and monitored by OCEARCH, visit the organization’s website for more information and an interactive map.