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Monterey Bay Aquarium lands another great white shark

August 27, 2009 |  9:00 am

A white shark gets used to its new surroundings in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has obtained another great white shark -- its fifth since 2004 -- and like the others, it will be a popular attraction throughout the duration of her stay.

It's a female measuring only 5 feet 3 and weighing just 80 pounds, but she boasts the classic great white look and manner.

She was obtained off Malibu with the help of a spotter plane and commercial purse seiners and it's hoped those who visit the aquarium to view the shark will come away with a greater appreciation for the embattled species.

The four previous white sharks, which were viewed by an estimated 2 million people, were tagged and released after stays of various length. Scientists tracked them as part of an ongoing monitoring project that also involves other white sharks that were tagged and released without spending time in captivity.

The last captive shark was released from the aquarium after only 11 days and tracked to the Channel Islands area. The previous shark, released after a five-month stay, was followed for an extended period as it swam to and past Cabo San Lucas, then up  into the Sea of Cortez off Baja California, where it remained for weeks before its tag life expired.

I chronicled that journey in an L.A. Times story. Scientists say data from the tagged sharks are providing insight into a species whose travels and habits are still largely a mystery. The Tagging of Pacific Predators program, spearheaded largely by Barbara Block of Stanford University, is helping to clear up some of those mysteries.

It's not clear how long the shark will remain at the aquarium; it could be weeks or months, depending on how well she adapts to her surroundings in the million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit. So if you'd like to check her out in person, sooner is probably better.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A white shark gets used to its new surroundings in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit. Credit: Randy Wilder / Monterey Bay Aquarium


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