Great white shark Katharine bypasses island

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 02:33 PM.

OCEARCH is a nonprofit, global shark-tracking project that uses four tagging technologies to create a three-dimensional image of a shark's activities. Researchers hope to develop successful conservation and management strategies by studying shark habits in detail.

Katharine has become a social media sensation.

Tens of thousands of people have visited the OCEARCH website in recent weeks, and its Facebook page has received as many as five million visits a week and many of those visitors are looking for information about Katharine. On several occasions, she has crashed the servers at OCREACH.

Why so much interest? In addition to her shoreline hugging habits, she may be pregnant.

According to researchers, male white sharks and non-pregnant females typically return to breeding grounds every year, while pregnant females return every two years because of an 18-month gestation period.

Cape Cod is a white shark breeding ground, and typically, this time of year the fish begin voyaging back to that area, but not Katharine. Observers speculate this is because she’s not trying to breed this year, which could mean she is already expecting.

Katharine is also very interesting because this is the first time a white shark has been tracked entering the Gulf. Up until now, researchers were uncertain of where the white sharks occasionally seen in the Gulf of Mexico came from.

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