The tagged shark was within detection range, about 1,500 feet, for only a few minutes before apparently leaving the area, according to Brandt Kehoe of the Friends of the Elephant Seal. It was first detected at 6:13 p.m.
The buoy, deployed by researchers with Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station with the support of the Friends of the Elephant Seal, is one of four shark-monitoring devices placed near California elephant seal rookeries to find out if the predators are attracted to areas with high concentrations of elephant seals.
The shark tags send out a signal every two minutes. If they’re within 1,500 feet of a detector, the signal is rebroadcast to a satellite, which forwards the message to a ground station that, in turn, notifies researchers on the ground by email within seconds.
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About 100 sharks have been tagged.
The Piedras Blancas elephant seal colony began in 1990. Currently, an estimated 17,000 seals use the beach some time during the year.