Turned out, not only human use Twitter. Now sharks in Western Australia will tweet their location.
Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.
Here is an example of the latest shark tweet:
The network now had 19 satellite-linked monitors, according to the Shark Monitoring Network Project Manager, Mark Kleeman. More monitors are expected to be installed soon off the South West Coast. Along with the satellite-linked monitors, there are approximately 320 seabed monitors located throughout Western Australia that also monitor tagged sharks.
Since 2011, Australia has had more fatal shark attacks than any other country; there have been six over the past two years — the most recent was in November.
The tagging system alerts beachgoers far quicker than traditional warnings, says Chris Peck, operations manager of Surf Life Saving Western Australia. “Now it’s instant information,” he tells Sky News, “and really people don’t have an excuse to say we’re not getting the information. It’s about whether you are searching for it and finding it.”
The tags will also be monitored by scientists studying the sharks. Researchers have tagged great whites, whaler sharks and tiger sharks.
The Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) Twitter feed at twitter.com/slswa is the best way to keep up-to-date with any detection of tagged sharks, by the State Government’s Shark Monitoring Network, as well as any sightings reported by members of the community to Water Police.