Great white shark cruising East Coast becomes Twitter star

OCEARCH reports Mary Lee pinged near Ocean City at 8:16 a.m. Sunday. It was her second time traveling through the Delmarva area in the last couple of weeks.

As the real life shark moves up and down the East Coast, a fake Twitter handle for the shark, @MaryLeeShark, has picked up a loyal following.

She has more than 55,000 followers and counting.

"Oh heyyyyy.... you're right by my house, come by for a nightcap?" invited one recent Twitter commenter as she popped up off the coast of Long Island, New York.

"I would settle for an ice bag to put on my aching Twitter fin. -:()" Mary Lee replied.

The fake Twitter handle isn't affiliated with OCEARCH. The account's operator identified themselves to the Associated Press only as a daily newspaper reporter living on the East Coast.

"The recent explosion of followers has been a lot of fun, but also like a second job. I do everything manually - no robo tweets," the account owner wrote.

The shark, which was tagged off the coast of Cape Cod, is among hundreds of sharks that OCEARCH has tagged and tracked since 2007.

OCEARCH's multi-year project uses GPS trackers affixed to the shark's dorsal fin to post real time data on dozens of great whites across the globe in order to better understand the shark's life cycle and encourage conservation.

Shark researchers say the work is important because there's still a lot unknown about the behavior of mature white sharks. The massive beasts are extremely difficult to tag with modern GPS trackers that would help closely track their movements.

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