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Sharks

Study: Tiger Shark Migration is Impressively Long

posted: 06/10/15
by: Danny Clemens
Tiger shark and feeding frenzy
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Tiger sharks undergo a remarkably long, 4,660 mile (7,500 kilometer) round-trip migration every year, according to a new study from Nova Southeastern University.

Researchers outfitted tiger sharks roaming the waters of Bermuda with satellite trackers, which pinged their location each time they surfaced. After tracking the sharks for two years, it became clear that they travel incredible distances each year: many spend the winters in the Caribbean, and then travel as far north as Connecticut in the summers.

Throughout the study, one shark, nicknamed Harry Lindo, traveled an impressive 27,000 miles (44,000 kilometers), which is the longest documented journey for a tiger shark.

According to study senior author Mahmood Shivji, many tiger sharks return to almost the exact same spot in the Caribbean each year. "Even though they've got a whole range of islands to choose from, it seems like each animal has its favorite winter spot," he explained.

Shivji and his colleagues hope that their research can be used to help tiger shark conservation efforts. The species is teetering on the brink of threatened status, as it is increasingly targeted by the shark fin trade.

"As apex predators, the presence of tiger sharks - and other large sharks - is vital to maintain the proper health and balance of our oceans," added Shivji. "That's why it's so important to conserve them, and understanding their migratory behavior is essential to achieving this goal."

Click here to read the full study in the open-access journal Scientific Reports

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