Looks like @MaryLeeShark, the Twitter celebrity with almost 97,000 followers, got her fill of the Hamptons.
The great white, tagged with a satellite tracking device, gave Long Islanders a thrill — or the shivers — when word got out last Friday that she pinged about 4 miles off the Hamptons.
A visitor to the waters off Long Island at the same time last year, Mary Lee was spotted through a global shark tracker last Thursday about 8 p.m. in waters off East Hampton.
By close to 6 p.m. last Friday, though, she had done an about face and was heading away from shore.
By Thursday evening at 7:10 p.m., she pinged just off the coast of Virginia, and revealed her destination in a tweet: “Making a beeline for Virginia Beach. -;() @OCEARCH @VirginiaBeachs”
Top predator that she is, Mary Lee’s Twitter identity certainly has a sense of humor, explaining her enviable following.
Her tweet from last Thursday on her Long Island arrival: “Yes, dahling, I do like to summer in the #Hamptons -;() @OCEARCH @Hamptons”
Still, the real-time tracking and social media posts — the @MaryLeeShark Twitter feed was actually created by a fan — are efforts to engage and inform people about a more serious issue.
That’s the loss of some 100 million sharks a year, many ending up in shark fin soup, says Chris Fischer, founding chairman and expedition leader of OCEARCH (think ocean and research). A research and educational nonprofit, its tracker is monitoring the comings and goings of some 300 tagged sharks, Mary Lee included, mostly great whites and tiger sharks, worldwide.
The great white is an “apex predator,” meaning top of the food chain, according to Ocearch.org
As such, it’s the ocean’s “balance keeper,” without which the populations of second-tier predators, such as squid, would “explode like locust,” Fischer said, gobbling up fish like tuna that humans like to eat.
As for Mary Lee, her new location was announced — in a tweet, of course — from the @OCEARCH account:
“17ft GWS @MaryLeeShark pings southbound off #VA beaches! Where do you think she’s going?”
The best way to find out is by monitoring her at http://www.ocearch.org/profile/mary_lee/.
OCEARCH is a nonprofit organization that does global research on great white sharks and other large apex predators.