One of the ocean’s most fearsome predators may be in dire straits. According to a research team led by Barbara Block, Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station, there are fewer than 3,500 great white sharks remaining in the wild, making them rarer than tigers.
Scientists had previously believed great whites were rare but not endangered because they were spotted in a variety of distant locations. However, according to the team’s unpublished study, people have been seeing the same sharks.
To gather data, Professor Block and her team used satellite and acoustic tracking devices to monitor over 150 great whites in southern California and Hawaii. They found that great whites are remarkable long distance swimmers, capable of travelling 12,000 miles in nine months. In addition, the researchers discovered that sharks spotted in Hawaii were the same individuals observed off the coast of California just six months later.