Huge great white, known as 'Joan of Shark,' closes Australian beach

The 16-foot-long great white shark is the largest to be tagged in Australia for monitoring.
By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   April 17, 2014 at 7:09 PM

ALBANY, Australia, April 17 (UPI) -- A 16-foot-long great white shark recently closed beaches in Albany, West Australia, where public debate still rages over the state government's shark-culling policies.

Researchers believe "Joan of Shark," as the locals call her, swam close to shore in search of a distressed whale calf. In a widely circulated photo, scientists fitted her with an electronic tag to track her movements.

Mark Kleeman, of West Australia's Department of Fisheries, told the ABC that authorities had put the shark to sleep before tagging it.

"In that photo, the shark is upside down, which induces a state called tonic immobility," he said. "In a sense, the shark basically goes to sleep, which enables our technical officers to do a small surgical procedure to implant an acoustic tag inside the shark's gut cavity."

They revived the shark by rolling it upright again.

Kleeman said that the tag will enable scientists to track the shark for the next 10 years.

[Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Telegraph UK]

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