A possibly pregnant giant great white shark named Mary Lee is lurking off the coast of Long Island near Jones Beach.
The 3500-lb, 16-foot female, which was tagged by researchers in 2012, was tracked Tuesday about 2 to 3 miles off shore. OCEARCH, a nonprofit organization, tracks Mary Lee and other tanged sharks through an interactive online map.
Mary Lee appears to be taking a tour of the Northeast Coast, having previously been tracked off the Jersey Shore earlier in the week.
The shark, which has a robust Twitter following of nearly 36,000, may be pregnant.
OCEARCH President Chris Berger said that Mary Lee may be headed north to Cape Cod where there is a bounty of seals to eat and where a breeding ground may be located. “We have no idea if she is pregnant,” he said. “Anything is possible.”
Scientists don’t currently have enough data to map the paths of white sharks, which is why tagging them is key to understanding their behavior, Berger said.
While some welcomed Mary Lee’s visit to the nearby shore of Long Island, others hoped that she’d pass on by on her travels.
But as Berger told The New York Post earlier this week, “Mary Lee goes where she wants — she has a mind of her own.”
Swimmers have little to fear: Bites are exceedingly rare, and the city’s Department of Health has never recorded a shark bite in its history. Sightings of great white sharks may become more predominant, with the population of the animal rebounding in recent years.