Katherine The Great White Shark Has Swam 10,000 Miles in 15 Months

Jan 30, 2015 03:57 PM EST

She's back, and this time to mark a new milestone in her long migrations. Since being tagged by researchers back in 2013, the social media sweetheart 'Katherine the great white shark' has traveled more than 10,000 miles around the United States coastline.

Reports have come flooding in about Katherine, whose GPS tracking tag recently pinged her position right near the Cape Canaveral National Seashore, along Florida's space coast.

Katherine, a 14-foot, 2,300-pound great white shark has become something of a celebrity over the last few years, as her migration patterns have proved surprisingly predictable. Around the same time every year, she can be spotted near Florida's coast lines, capturing the imaginations of enthusiasts and researchers alike. She even has her own Twitter handle!

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Since the start of the new year, Katherine has covered nearly the entire East Coast, heading south to avoid the worst of the region's winter weather.

"She's basically a snowbird," Greg Skomal, a scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, recently explained to Florida Today"My guess is that her migration is mitigated by water temperature, hence the seasonal pattern."

Often swimming mere tens of miles from shore, Katherine has generally minded her own business, which has made her a popular subject for brave photographers. She is also likely the same massive shark that reportedly swam right under a pair of paddle boaters in Florida waters last May without even glancing their way.

And while Katherine doesn't appear to care much about people, people are very interested in her. As an original in a growing list of sharks tagged by the OCEARCH research team, shark enthusiasts can track the great white's progress using the organization's real-time shark tracker. You can even see the whole of her 10,000-mile journey and the stunningly predictable pattern it follows.

Still, not every great white is as predictable as Katherine. According to a study published last June in PLOS One, it appears that great white sharks in the northwestern Atlantic are steadily recovering from near-threatened numbers.

However, the authors are quick to add that they may have never actually been in decline in the first place, as the sharks are notoriously difficult to track. It may simply have been that for the past few years, many great whites had changed their migration routes, and are only now just returning to the places researchers pay attention to.

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