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March 10, 2011

Only 219 Great Whites Live Off California's North Coast

That's according to a recently published, first-ever census conducted by post-doctoral students at UC Davis over the three years.

"The number seems incredibly low--it was very surprising for us," said Taylor Chapple, who published the report in this week's journal Biology Letters. "If you look at other protected marine mammals such as polar bears or killer whales, their populations are far bigger than white sharks."

Chapple's team floated seal decoys between Bodega Bay and Monterey. When the sharks surfaced to explore the decoys, his team took photos of the shark's distinctive fins, which were used to help tell the sharks apart and calculate the total population.

Unfortunately, this study is the first-of-its kind, so it is still uncertain whether or not great white shark populations are rising, falling or stable. On the bright side though, this is a step in the right direction.

Posted by jroualdes at March 10, 2011 10:49 PM


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