Daisy the great white shark is on the move.
The 2.75m female shark has left Mount Maunganui, where she was tracked last week, and is now in Waihi Beach, according to new location tracking data via the Great White App.
Shark scientist Dr Riley Elliott received a Department of Conservation permit in June to track and satellite-tag 20 great white sharks, with the project allowing people to see where the animals are travelling through a live app.
The project is driven by funding and support from the public and is hosted by the Sustainable Ocean Society — a non-profit organisation established by Elliot and a group of his friends.
Daisy was the first shark tagged in Elliott’s project on December 3 inside Bowentown’s harbour. Two weeks later she was detected off Hawai on the East Cape before appearing in Mount Maunganui. The app shows she is now in Waihi Beach.
Daisy the great white shark has been tracked in Waihi Beach. Photo / The Great White App
Elliott believed Daisy left Mount Maunganui for Waihi Beach because it was “likely where she was pupped”.
He said Daisy’s movements showed she was exploring her home range.
“Basically, I think she went out exploring down the East Cape. That area is known for a lot of spawning fish, for where hammerheads go and pup ... and baby hammerheads are a perfect snack-sized treat for a 2.7m great white.
“But like any animal born in a nest, it seems like they were pupped here and therefore this is kind of where they come back to, the harbour.”
Asked what Daisy might do next, Elliott said it was a “new environment” and he was still learning.
“What I am happy about, I guess, is the adverse weather of the summer might not have been good for campers but it reduced our overlap this summer with these sharks and gives us more time to learn about their movements in relation to our own.
“When I see Daisy off the main beach and it’s really crappy weather and no one is on the water, it kind of alleviates a little bit of anxiety.
“But in saying that, these sharks were there the whole time throughout the last couple of summers and it just kind of proves that they’re a pretty polite animal - 99 per cent of the time they do their own thing.”
Takami was the second shark tagged in Elliott’s project on December 5 inside Bowentown’s Harbour. From tracking Takami’s movements, Elliott said it did not seem like the sharks surfaced a lot while they were in the harbour.
Satellite tags tracked the shark “anywhere in the world” but relied on the shark coming above the surface of the water, he said.
“Hence why we haven’t heard from Takami in a long time because she perhaps is residing in the harbour and that comes with different prey which [is] maybe on the bottom and [doesn’t] require them to come to the surface.
Whereas outside of the harbour, spawning fish were at the surface.
“And that’s maybe what Daisy was feeding on.
“These are long-term studies — these tags are on there for a year or more and through that time, we will learn. I mean, Takami could pop up in Stewart Island in a couple of days for all we know.”
According to the app website, the location accuracy of the tracked sharks ranged from 250m to several kilometres, depending on how long the tag was above water. The longer it was out, the more accurate the fix from satellites.
This meant sharks could sometimes appear to be on land in the app.
Dr Riley Elliott. Photo / Amber Jones
Elliott said he was setting up tags for the 18 other sharks and hoped to have them done during the next six weeks.
The first hard part of the project was getting all 20 tags funded, he said.
“Now the second hard part is finding 18 great whites in a place where no one’s ever researched them before.”
Elliott said it was cool to have Daisy giving regular updates on her whereabouts, as fish were generally after a common resource.
“And therefore where one is, you likely will probably find more.”
Elliott said he would be focusing on Bowentown Harbour.
“But while there are school holidays on, I’m also going to target some other areas outside the harbour, which is quite handy, seeing where these sharks have been acts as a good guide.”
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