Two great white sharks have traveled 4,000 kilometers from the cold waters of southern New Zealand to the tropical waters of North East Australia.
The sharks began their journey in Stewart Island - 30 kilometers south of New Zealand’s South Island, and made their way to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of the Australian state of Queensland.
The journey, of which one shark dived 1,000 meters, has surprised scientists who were studying the sharks.
“We used to think great white sharks were shallow-water coastal species that lived in cold areas, where there were lots of seals to eat,” said Malcolm Francis, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington.
“Now we have changed our impression of what they do.”
Possible World Record
Dr Francis added that the 1,000 meter dive could even be a world record for a great white shark.
Although various reports on the Internet claim that great whites have been known to dive to as much as 1,280 meters, great whites, which are known for swimming close to the surface, rarely dive to more than 800 meters below the surface.
It’s likely that the shark was chasing a giant squid or phosphorescent fish at the time. Dr Francis says that at those depths, it would have been pitch black, and the shark would have been guided by the glow of the fish.
Great Whites “Know Where They’re Going”
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the Conservation Department have been attaching satellite tracking devices to great white sharks to measure position, depth and water temperature. After several months, the devices eventually detach themselves from the shark and float to the surface, where data is transmitted to a satellite.
Dr Francis was also surprised to learn that the sharks traveled in a straight line, and covered up to 120 kilometers per day.
“They seem to know where they are going,” he said.