Just ahead of the busy spring season, a great white shark, weighing about 1,200 pounds, is being tracked off the coast of Florida.
The shark, a female named Maple by OSEARCH, a nonprofit organization that tracks marine life, measures 11 feet and 7 inches. Female great whites tend to be bigger than males and can grow up to 16 feet long, compared to males at 13 feet, according to the Smithsonian.
Maple was spotted about 43 miles southeast of St. George Island in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, the organization wrote on Facebook.
“Over the past two seasons [she] has spent much of her winter in the Gulf of Mexico,” the post reads.
Their at-sea laboratory, MV OCEARCH, has been tracking the shark’s movements since she was first tagged off the coast of Nova Scotia in September 2021. Maple was named after Canada’s national symbol, the maple leaf, and had a distinctive wound on the left side of her body that the research team believed was caused by an interaction with another larger white shark.
“This interaction was possibly an example of dominance behavior. It is not uncommon for sharks to show their dominance over a smaller animal of their species by delivering a significant but non-fatal bite,” OCEARCH says.
They’ve continued to monitor her along with dozens of other sharks they have tagged. A fun (or not-so-fun) fact about sharks is that the Gulf of Mexico is actually home to numerous species, so Maple’s appearance in the body of water is not unlikely. The warm waterway makes for the perfect home for sharks.
If you’re curious and want to look for sharks yourself, check out OCEARCH Shark Tracker, as provides names, where sharks last surfaced, their weight and height, and more. For Maple’s whereabouts, you can click here.