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Great white shark spotted at Cape Cod beach

"Sharks do live in the ocean," said Cynthia Wigren. "So when you go out in the ocean you take the chance of sharing the same water as a shark."
By Brooks Hays   |   June 30, 2014 at 4:53 PM   |   Comments

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ORLEANS, Mass., June 30 (UPI) -- Just a couple weeks into summer and the first great white shark has been spotted near one of Cape Cod's beaches. The approximately 14-foot female white shark -- dubbed "Ping" -- was observed near Nauset Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts.

It's the first sighting by researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a group that recently embarked on a multi-year study of the fearsome predator. The study is a partnership between the nonprofit and the state's Division of Marine Fisheries, who want to know more about the health and behavior of the species population -- how many return from year to year and where do they hang out?

"She was incredible, very, very slowly moving across the water," said conservancy researcher Cynthia Wigren, who was aboard the observatory boat that trailed Ping for more than an hour. "It was easy to stay with her."

The NOAA recently released a report suggesting great white populations have rebounded dramatically on both coasts thanks to a concerted effort by federal and local authorities to conserve sharks and their prey.

More and more seals have been observed along the New England coast over the years. And where there are seals, there are usually sharks.

Although the new sighting -- and beachside signs warning of lurking great whites -- aroused a bit of a alarm among Cape Cod locals, they must take it in stride and with a little perspective.

Local Desmond Curran told reporters there's no reason to be concerned, "because I think there's a better chance of me crashing on the way home today."

"Sharks do live in the ocean. So when you go out in the ocean you take the chance of sharing the same water is a shark," said Wigren. "I think you're the biggest thing is to really pay attention to the signs and to listen to the lifeguards."

Only a handful of people have been killed by sharks along the Eastern seaboard in recorded history.

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