Ocearch’s tracking technology allows researchers to monitor shark’s movements throughout the world’s oceans, providing valuable insight into their behavior and their range.

Today, we’d like to introduce one of these sharks: Dorien.

Dorien’s profile

Dorien, the great white shark tagged for shark tracking, research and conservation efforts in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

Photo credit: www.ocearch.org.

Species: White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

Gender: Female

Stage of Life: Immature

Length:  3 meters

Weight: 351.5 kg

Tag Date: Mar 21, 2012

Tag Location: Mossel Bay

Total Travel: 6 563 km

Dorien, a female great white shark, is a bit of a wanderer. While she calls the coastal waters of the South Western Cape home, she’s taken the time to explore much further afield, just to get out of her comfort zone.

At 3 meters in length and weighing a little over 350 kg, Dorien is immature – really, a teenager.

Maybe that’s why she enjoys exploring so much; at her age, the ocean is a big wide place that full of things to experience.

At the start of her travels, Dorien struck out for the deep waters of the southern oceans – fairly typically for a teenager, she jumped straight into the deep end.

It seems like Dorien seriously considered a trip to South East Asia at one point. Perhaps she imagined sunning herself off the coast of Bali?

Whatever her thinking, she clearly decided that life in the East wasn’t for her after all (or she just got cold feet), because she soon turned tail and headed West again.

Coming around the coast of South Africa, Dorien stayed far out to sea; clearly she was not ready to return to the shallower safety of the coast.

Dorien’s Westward jaunt eventually turned North, taking her up the coast of Southern Africa to the border between Namibia and South Africa.

Here she finally turns back to land, maybe thinking to check out Alexander Bay at the termination of the Orange River.

Whatever her reasoning, Dorien finally decided to return to the coastal waters, riding the cold Benguela current along South Africa’s West Coast.

Eschewing the bright lights of Cape Town, she instead has settled in Hermanus – near to where she was originally tagged.

Which just goes to show: there really is no place like home.

If you’d like the chance to see sharks like Dorien in the home waters, a shark cage diving adventure will give you an up-close look at these incredible animals.

About Ocearch shark tracking

Ocearch is a conservation focused organization which tracks sharks around the world, among other scientific endeavours.

Each shark is tagged with a tracking device that is inserted through their dorsal fin. Whenever they break the surface of the water, a signal is transmitted to a satellite. The satellite then sends back an estimated location of the shark – this is called a ‘ping’.

Each of these ‘pings’ gives researchers an accurate, real time location of a particular shark, allowing them to collect data about each individual.

During the tagging process, tests are done on the shark to determine their species, age, sex, weight, length and stage of life. From the data collected a profile is set up for the shark on Ocearch’s official tracking website.

This process allows researchers to glean the extent of the shark’s territory, the distance they have covered since their tagging and allows them to monitor their behavior.

This information is used to educate readers – not only about the current shark population and their behaviour, but also about OCEARCH’s conservation initiative.

Each shark displays their own particular habits: which coastlines they prefer, the depth at which they like to swim, and the places they enjoy visiting. It’s interesting to follow a particular individual and see what they get up to, how much distance they cover in comparison to other sharks and whether they prefer shallow or deep waters.

You can find out more about Ocearch’s shark tracking initiatives over at their website.


Credit: All data found on www.ocearch.org.

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