A giant Jaws-type Great White shark is heading for the coast of Ireland and could be arriving within days.
Lydia, the name given to the beast, was tagged with an electronic device by marine biologists in Florida last year, and has since travelled 20,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. She is now just 1,000 miles of the coast of Kerry, where there is a plentiful supply of her favourite food, seals.
Kevin Flannery, who works at Dingle Oceanworld in Kerry, said: “There is no doubt from the current position of the shark, we are seeing a great white heading into European waters for the first time. It is about 1,000 miles away, which is not far in sea terms.
“It could be here in 72 hours if it took a straight line but it probably won’t go directly in a straight line. She is an eating and feeding machine hunting for food.
“There are obviously more of these sharks than there have been in the past but because of the tag we are able to see it for the first time ever. It is fantastic to be able to see this.”
Further evidence that these giant sharks are now frequenting Irish waters came yesterday, when a 6ft porbeagle shark (a relative of the great white) was found washed up on Kerry beach. The shark had no visible injuries, and seemed to have been in a healthy condition, leaving experts puzzled as to how it ended up washed ashore.
Flannery concluded that Lydia’s voyage towards Irish waters may be a sign of things to come: “Up to a year or two ago, they (great whites) were being landed in Spain, Portugal and Africa and all the way up along, so they possibly never made it up to Ireland.
“This is the first official one which will be recorded in the north Atlantic. She is probably on a specific feeding track. They are creatures of habit.
“The problem was that down through the years they were targeted and killed but now they are a protected species we possibly will see a lot more of them.”
Residents of Ireland’s coastal towns could be forgiven for being a bit wary about taking a quick dip in the sea from now on.
Here is a clip from the BBC documentary, Planet Earth, showing the frightening act of the Great White Shark breaching the water fully in an attack on a seal.
Here is a video of Lydia being tagged by the Florida team of marine biologists last year.
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