Famous shark with 129K Twitter followers disappears mysteriously

Mary Lee has not registered movement for 6 months; is she dead?

Great White Shark
Great White Shark Pixabay

A major celebrity has disappeared mysteriously after ruling hearts for five years. No, it isn't another Hollywood actor: it's Mary Lee, the American great white shark who has about 130,000 followers on Twitter. Her fans are devastated after not hearing from her in a long time.

Mary Lee has disappeared after being tracked for five years, since 2012 when she was tagged with a transmitter by Ocearch off the Cape Cod coast. She has registered more pings than any other tagged shark. A ping is registered when the dorsal fins of the shark break water, which sends an update of its location.

Mary Lee had made headlines when she ventured into the surf zone at the Jacksonville beach in January 2013. Her last ping was on June 17 and her location was the New Jersey coast. Now, this eerie silence from her has worried her lovers and observers alike.

However, Chris Fischer of Ocearch, who had been tracking the 16-foot shark, says that the chances of Mary Lee having died are very slim. Instead, a very real possibility is that the batteries on her transmitter have run out as they had been designed to last for five years.

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Although Fischer wishes to hear from his old friend again, he accepts the fact that it might never happen and is ready to deal with it. "I feel like she's done so much, it's hard to ask for anything else. For any individual shark, she's undone more of the damage from Jaws than any shark in history," he says, adding that she is the most famous of all the tagged sharks and has single-handedly created a positive image of this marine predator species.

If all goes according to nature, Mary Lee still has about 20 years of life on earth, as she was between 40 to 50 years old when she was tagged. Boaters and fishermen off the South Carolina coast have been asked to keep an eye out for her. It is easy to recognize her as she has a bite mark on her dorsal fin.

Fischer's Ocearch vessel will go on its next adventure to spot and tag great white sharks next January. It is everybody's hope that they succeed in spotting beloved Mary Lee again. Fischer believes that if indeed that happens, it will be like a miraculous gift from the ocean. He assumes that Mary Lee is in the Florida-Georgia line, which is her favourite stretch of sea.

This article was first published on December 29, 2017