Hey, who’s that following you on Twitter?
Oh, it’s a shark. Wait… what?
Yep. Sharks are now sending tweets, courtesy of a new initiative from Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA), whose scientists have attached transmitters to more than 320 sharks, including great whites, so they can be monitored up and down the coast.
Once a tagged shark swims within a kilometre of a beach, an alert is triggered which is picked up by a computer, and then turned into a tweet, which is broadcast by the SLSWA’s Twitter feed.
Photo of the tiger shark sighted off Trigg Beach earlier this morning by the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter. pic.twitter.com/kWmw1P10DQ
— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) December 24, 2013
Western Australia now has the dubious distinction of being rated the world’s deadliest place for shark attacks, and, while chances of a negative encounter with a shark remains slim, recent attacks have promoted authorities to look at new ways of preventing incidents.
“These detections and Western Australia’s extensive receiver network are contributing to important research to help the Government to better understand the movements of white sharks through WA waters, as well as playing a major public safety role,” said Dr Rory McAuley, the Department of Fisheries’ principal research scientist.
“The battery life of internal acoustic tags is up to 10 years so the scientific data that may be collected from this shark is unprecedented.”