How to Track a Great White Shark – the DICT’s first mini-documentary

December 03, 2012 by dyertrust

Join the Dyer Island Conservation Trusts marine biologists as they explain the step by step process of manually tagging and tracking great white sharks. This video offers a unique insight into how great white shark tracking is performed in Gansbaai, while explaining its importance to the animals conservation. DICT marine biologist, Oliver Jewell, explains, White sharks are a threatened species we know very little about. This lack of knowledge is often filled by popular media articles often based on sensationalism that offer very little in educational content. By conducting our research and sharing our knowledge freely with the community, we hope to show people the truth about these animals, and in the case of tracking – where they go and why.

The DICT has been manually tracking the white sharks of Gansbaai since September 2010 and have tagged 11 individual white sharks. If you are interested in learning more about the DICTs tracking program, please click The question has come up quite a few timesif you are born on a boat, what does your birth certificate say?

Well, in the case of a Cape Wagtail chick, hatched on Slashfin, a shark cage diving vessel operating from Gansbaaiit will say born at sea

A pair of Cape Wagtails made a nest on Slashfin, and two eggs were laid. Both parents would be active on the boat during the periods when our boat is in harbor, and the crew is getting the boat ready for a trip – and then, when they are heading out, the female leaves the boat when they reach the breakers heading out to sea.

We went out one morning to film Slashfin as it came back into harbor and whilst we were sitting waiting for the boat on the jetty, I could hear the wagtails calling from the rocks on the northern side of the little shop at the harbor. Slashfin was nowhere in sight – Apex then managed to get back before Slashfin and the little wagtail flew out to the boat whilst it was still about 200 yards out from the harbor, circled it twice and made her way back to the rocks. Clearly knowing that this was not their boat! When Slashfin reached the harbor, she flew out again and landed on the deck, sitting patiently whilst they drew into the harbor…
Both parents took up duties, alternatively feeding and clearing fecal sacs out of the nest, doing all of their homework before the next trip departs. We were very concerned about the welfare of this chick as we always thought that a nest and brood needed continuous care.

Wilfred Chivell, owner of Marine Dynamics Tours and Slashfin, decided to let nature take its course. Evidently this was the right decision and the recipe worked for these Wagtails, as they successfully raised one of the two chicks, which is now happily running around, on sea legs, escorting the parents all around the harbor.

Would be interesting to see if they’re going to choose this nesting site with all of its challenges again!!!!