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Long-Lived Great White Given a Fitting Name

'Queen of the Ocean' is tagged and released off Nova Scotia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2020 12:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – We may be losing our link to one great white shark, but we have another, much larger one to fascinate us in Katherine's place. Off the east coast of Canada, OCEARCH, the nonprofit that tracks marine life, has just tagged a female great white measuring just over 17 feet long and approaching two tons. Nukumi (noo-goo-mee) is the largest of nine sharks to be tagged and released during a monthlong mission in the Northwest Atlantic, per NBC News. The 3,541-pound shark is not only massive, but also old—hence the name. Nukumi refers to the wise grandmother figure from Mi'kmaq legend, per CNN. The indigenous Mi'kmaq have long made a home in what are now Canada's Atlantic provinces, including Nova Scotia, where Nukumi was found. She's about 50 years old. Great whites are thought to "live up to 60 years, maybe more," per Smithsonian.

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In a video log, OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer says it was "really humbling to stand next to a large animal like that," whose offspring are likely making babies of their own. "When you look at all the healed-over scars and blotches and things that are on her skin, you're really looking at the story of her life and it makes you feel really insignificant," he says. Meeting this "proper Queen of the Ocean" was a "powerful experience for all of us," he adds. You can view footage of the tagging here. "With the new data we've collected, this matriarch will share her #wisdom with us for years to come," OCEARCH says. You should eventually be able to track Nukumi's movements on OCEARCH's website, though no data has appeared for her yet. Two smaller great white sharks tagged off Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, on Thursday have since traveled toward Cape Cod. (Read more great white shark stories.)

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