BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Have you heard of Mary Lee the shark? She now has more than 50,000 Twitter followers—and you may want to start paying attention to this social media shark. Her last ping was in Maryland waters Monday morning off the coast of Chincoteague.
Mary Bubala has more.
Up and down the Eastern Seaboard, the shark world’s newest celebrity, Mary Lee the great white shark, is on the move. And now you can follow her movements or pings on Twitter. Mary Lee the shark is Tweeting up waves of information.
“There are sharks in the ocean all the time. Don’t panic because I’m pinging,” she said to a worried vacationer.
“People do seem to swim faster when I appear,” she replied to another.
“Someone started Tweeting on behalf of Mary Lee the shark and at Ocearch, we’re all about including everyone in trying to solve this puzzle, we just started amplifying that and it’s really taken on a life of its own,” said Chris Fischer.
Mary Lee was among a group of sharks tagged by Fischer and a team of researchers in 2012. A satelite-enabled tag was fixed to her dorsal fin. Researchers are sent a ping each time her fin breaks the surface.
Since “Jaws” first captivated audiences 40 years ago, public interest in sharks has wavered between fear and fascination.
But as Mary Lee the shark keeps Tweeting, researchers hope the attention will help people overcome their fears about one of the world’s most powerful and vulnerable predators.
“We’re not only solving the puzzle of her life to protect her but we’re giving her a voice to shift the tone in conversation around her and other white sharks like her,” Fischer said.
Fischer actually named the shark Mary Lee after his mother. In the past three years, Mary Lee has traveled more than 20,000 miles. The great white weighs more than 3,500 pounds and is 16 feet long.