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GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Say so long to great white shark Mary Lee. After spending a number of weeks off the coast of South Carolina, she's headed back north.
Mary Lee is a 3,456 pounds shark belonging to the Carcharodon carcharias species. This 16 foot, mature female was tagged on Sept. 17, 2012 by OCEARCH, a nonprofit research organization, and named for the mother of founding chairman and expedition leader Chris Fisher.
The Grand Strand first became aware of Mary Lee's presence in late November 2012, when her tracking device she was in the Huntington Beach area.
Since then she was located as south as Jacksonville, swimming past the Grand Strand as she stopped as Savannah, Hilton Head, Charleston Southport, and visited our own Murrells Inlet for a spell.
OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer tells WMBF News that Mary Lee came about a mile from the beach. He says sharks like Mary Lee have always been coming that close to the shore but for the first time we're being able to see this movement in real time.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, Mary Lee's tracking device pinged her location just east of Long Island, NY.
The research team is also tracking 14 foot, 2,292 pound Genie who was last located off the Charleston coast.
This is the first time in history tracking of these sharks is being published online for everyone to see. Fischer says the website they created has been crashing because of the public's growing interest in Mary Lee.
The site went live at the end of August, Fischer says, and there are many other sharks tagged off the coast of Africa but Mary Lee being off the Atlantic Coast has gathered the most attention.
The tags used in the tracking have a life span of five years, however the life of the tag can be shortened by contents in the ocean.
The OCEARCH tracking website follows 35 different great white sharks across the globe. Track Mary Lee online on the Ocearch Global Shark Tracker.