A group of scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), working with the Marine and Coastal Management Branch of South Africa, have perfected an unusual, hands-on method to study great white sharks, where these fearsome predators are gently hauled into research vessels to receive high-tech satellite tags.
According to the scientists, the technique is safe to both shark and researcher, resulting in better data to understand – and ultimately protect – one of natures largest and most maligned carnivores. So far, seven sharks ranging up to eleven-and-a-half feet long and over 800 pounds have been tagged using this technique off the coast of South Africa, one of the worlds hot spots for great whites.
The sharks are baited with a hook and line, and quickly hoisted into a specially constructed cradle. At that point, a team of two veterinarians inserts a hose with oxygen-rich water into the sharks mouth to keep them breathing while monitoring their condition. Meanwhile, a group of scientists attach the tag to the dorsal fin to record the fishs movements. Before the shark is released, it is given a cocktail of medicine to ensure rapid recovery.
Dr. Ramon Bonfil | EurekAlert!
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