The winners of the Guy Harvey Research Institute Great Shark Race have been announced, with CUDDLES nabbing first place in the Shortfin Mako category and AGT-MILO2 winning the Whale Shark category.
AGT-MILO2 traveled 4,177 miles/6,722km, while CUDDLES swam 3,207 miles/5,161km over the course of the nearly-seven-month “race.”
The latest in ocean wildlife tracking technology was used to measure race results. A fin-mounted SPOT satellite tag on each shark allowed them to be tracked in near-real-time on the GHRI Race Tracking Website. These SPOT tags relayed crucial data back to researchers, including the distance that each shark covered as they swam around the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.
The competition was divided into two races: the shortfin makos, the fastest marine creatures on the planet that can swim up to 44mph/71kph, and the whale sharks, which, not surprisingly, are some of the slowest swimmers.
The three racing mako sharks traveled a combined 8,900+ miles/14,323km:
· CUDDLES, sponsored by Penmanship, was declared the victor with 3,207 miles/5,161km logged, followed closely by:
· CAISON, sponsored by Certified Contracting Group, Inc., traveling 3,073 miles/4,946km, and;
· FISHANGLER, sponsored by Fishangler App, which finished third with 2,627 miles/4,228km.
As for the whale shark category, the five whale shark racers were:
· AGT-MILO2, sponsored by Advanced Green Technologies, was declared the victor with 4,177 miles/6,722km logged; followed by:
· GLASS CUTTER, sponsored by Miller Glass & Glazing, Inc., with 2,761 miles/4,443km;
· DIABLO, sponsored by Crawford Roofing, Inc., which traveled 2,718 miles/4,374km.
· CONTAGIOUS ENERGY, sponsored by the Moss Foundation, which travelled 1,979 miles/3,185km; and
· SPEED RACER, sponsored by the Boatyard Restaurant, which travelled 873 miles/1,405km for 56 days before its tag got entangled in fishing line and stopped reporting.
According to Mahmood Shivji, director of Nova Southeastern University’s GHRI and the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center:
“Everyone loves a contest, so we thought this could be a great, fun, engaging way to raise public awareness about the dire status of both these endangered shark species and an effective way to attract sponsors to further fund this long-term research. The announcement was timed to Shark Week when the spotlight shines brightest on sharks. From the work we’ve done, we know that both these species can travel up to 12,000 miles in one year so our goal is to use new data to understand where they go, when they go and potentially why they travel to these specific locations.”
Check out where all the sharks swam here.