One of the biggest great white sharks in the world is a female named Unama’ki. The massive shark was tagged in Nova Scotia in September and is 15 feet five inches long, with a weight of 2076 pounds. The shark is the second-largest great white ever tagged by Ocearch, a nonprofit organization that tags and tracks large marine animals.
While Unama’ki is undoubtedly a massive shark, they can get even larger. The researchers say that some great whites have been found weighing up to 5000 pounds and more than 20 feet in length. The research organization previously discovered and tagged a 17 foot long female great white shark that weighed 3541 pounds. That shark was also discovered off the coast of Nova Scotia and was named Nukumi.
Unama’ki has done a bit of traveling since she was first tagged in September, recently pinging a satellite near Miami. The satellite tracker on the dorsal fin of the shark pinged at 5:46 AM ET on November 5th off Key Largo, South of Miami. For the tracker to ping the satellite, the shark’s dorsal fin had to break the surface of the ocean.
As scary and ferocious as great white sharks are, they are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is why they are tagged and tracked closely. Great whites are one of the top ocean predators and are crucial to functional ecosystems of the ocean.
Scientists tracking Unama’ki hope she will lead them to where she gives birth, revealing a previously unknown great white shark nursery. One challenge with tracking the creatures is that they have to break the surface for the tracker to ping the satellite. The creatures don’t always spend time near the ocean’s surface, meaning they can go significant periods with their location unknown.