Tracking Mary Lee, the great white shark who’s a big deal on Twitter

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NEW YORK (PIX11) - She's the latest internet sensation.

Mary Lee, a 3,500 pound, 16-foot shark that has been traveling up and down shores of New Jersey over the past week and a half .  At one point, Mary Lee was just one-half mile from the beaches of Lavallette and then disappeared from radar only to pop up along the shores of Long Island.

She has quite the following on Twitter.  As of this writing, Mary Lee has nearly 60-thousand twitter followers waiting and watching for where she will pop up next.

The reason we are able to track Mary Lee is because of a tracking device implanted in her two years ago by the Marine Biologists at OCEARCH - a group dedicated to learning more about marine biology.

"A lot of this work is trying to identify where sharks are going and why," says Dr. James Gelsleichter   "More than likely they are looking for food, perhaps dropping pups if she is pregnant, the question is still out there."

Every time Mary Lee's dorsal fin pops up above water, the biologists get a ping as to where she is.

Dr. Gelsleichter says he does not believe there is any reason to worry or panic that a great white is swimming off our shores.  To back that up - history shows that there has not been a great white shark attack on a human along the East coast since they early 1900s.

Certainly there have been scares.  In 2011, a basking shark was spotted off the shores of Westhamptom, Long Island, prompting a beach evacuation.  However, basking sharks are harmless.

"Basically our life guards are on the stands, watching the water, screening," says George Gorman, Deputy Regional Director for the New York State Parks.  "If they see anything that is endangering anyone, they will deal with it right away."

Mary Lee came from Cape Cod where she normally swims regularly.   So, when will she return?

" A lot of bets are out there,"  says Dr. Gelsleichter.  "The group thinks she will go back to Boston."

As of this writing, Mary Lee is off the shores of Virginia - but you can track her yourself.   Her twitter handle is @MaryLeeShark​

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