According to an Instagram post by Dr Michael Domeier of the Marine Conservation Science Institute, two female great white sharks were detected swimming near Surf Beach at the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. Although the beach is on a military base, it is open to the public.
While shark attacks are extremely rare, the waters off Surf Beach account for a disproportionate number of attacks when compared to the rest of the country.
Two fatal attacks occurred near the beach in October of 2010 and of 2012. Another great white incident was recorded in 2014, although that attack was not fatal.
Between 2008 and 2014, there was a shark attack near the beach on every even-ending year. That strange pattern broke in 2018 and 2020, when no attacks were recorded at the beach.
Dr Domeier revealed that the sharks were named “Poe Girl” and “Betty White”. The shark called Betty White was 12 feet long when it was first tagged in 2020.
“Our tagged Great White Sharks, Poe Girl (no longer off Malibu) and Betty White, are near infamous Surf Beach,” he wrote.
He noted a strange glitch in the data he shared that erroneously suggested the Betty White shark was actually several miles inland, menacing the outskirts of Lompoc.
“Betty White is not really on land, this just demonstrates the imprecision of location estimates that are based upon the Doppler Effect,” he explained.
The data comes from the MCSI's app, Expedition White Shark. The app allows users to track the dozens of sharks tagged by the organisation.
Betty White is the closest to Surf Beach. Poe Girl, according to the shared data, was detected several miles south of the beach.
Despite the shark's proximity to the beach, shark attacks remain exceptionally rare incidents. In 2020, there were only 13 shark-related deaths worldwide, while lightning strikes account for 24,000 deaths annually.
Experts believe most shark attacks result from sharks mistaking humans, surf boards, kayaks or rafts as seals.
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