Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Great White Adolescent: juvenile white shark makes rare appearance for whale watchers

Here's a bit of fun news, perfectly timed as Discovery Channel's Shark Week prepares to launch this coming July 31st. In his blog, Outdoors, action and adventure, Pete Thomas reports on a Southern California whale excursion boat that was able to provide a little extra for its passengers - in the form of a great white shark.

After watching several blue whales, which will frequent the local California waters as part of their annual migratory trek, the passengers and crew of the Dana Pride were briefly visited by a juvenile white shark, perhaps measuring around 10 feet. There are some shark researchers who say female white sharks will give birth along the coast and as they move on as part of their normal migrations, the juveniles will remain in the area, feeding on fish and growing until the migratory lightbulb goes off in their heads and, as they reach adulthood, their feeding habits switch to seals and sea lions as the preferred prey.

However, they don't spend much time near the surface, so sightings are fairly rare. But they're there all the same. As evidence, many of the white sharks that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has had on display over the years, as part of their successful captive white shark program, have been juveniles caught by fishermen in their nets in, you guessed it, Southern California.

The captain, Todd Mansur, was able to take a short video on his cellphone of the approaching shark. Although one reader of Pete's article commented that it was a mako shark, it appears to me to be a juvenile white shark, not only because of its size and proportions but because of its relaxed movement in the water.

Having been to Isla Guadalupe, Baja to film the white sharks that migrate there in the fall months (I'll be there again this October), I have seen many familiar toothy faces return to the island year after year. But, unfortunately, there are a few sharks who have not been seen in some time, so I always enjoy hearing or seeing evidence of potential future generations of these important predators whose numbers have greatly diminished over the past few decades.

Read Pete Thomas' account of the visiting white shark.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dummys screaming scared it away