Sharks Are Using Twitter To Warn Swimmers In Australia (Yes, Really)

12/27/2013 11:00 am ET | Updated Aug 04, 2014

Australia sure has some tech-savvy sharks.

As part of a program recently launched by Surf Life Saving Western Australia, a community service association, sharks are taking to Twitter to warn swimmers and beachgoers of their locations.

Thanks to transmitters implanted in several hundred sharks, automated updates are posted to Twitter when one of the tagged sharks swims near a beach. The tweets are shared on Surf Life Saving WA's feed (@SLSWA), along with other non-tagged shark sightings and announcements.

For example:

According to Sky News, scientists have implanted transmitters in more than 320 sharks, including bronze whalers and great whites. When one of the tagged sharks swims within 1 kilometer (about 0.6 mile) of a beach, the transmitter pings a computer, which then posts a tweet that includes the type of shark, alert time and location.

The automated system is, perhaps, a much quicker method of informing the public of shark sightings in the area -- one of the deadliest regions in the world for shark attacks.

After a slew of recent shark attacks, including the Nov. 23 death of a 35-year-old surfer near the coast of Western Australia, government officials considered shark culling to curb the number of fatal attacks. Under the highly controversial mass hunting plan, which the Western Australian government ultimately approved, baited hooks will be set up on beaches to catch and kill sharks.

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