Two hundred thousand years ago in the late Pleistocene era, a relatively small number of great white sharks from the waters around Australia broke away and migrated to the northwest region of the Pacific.
Over millennia of isolation, this particular population of Carcharodon carcharias slowly became genetically unique. The region they now call home – an area of Northern California coast ranging from Bodega Bay to Big Sur and as far west as the Farallon Islands – is often referred to as the red triangle.
Ten percent of the world’s shark attacks on humans happen here. Despite cinematic speculations, it is generally understood that attacks on humans are the result of mistaken identity, as wet suits and surfboards have a similar appearance to that of the shark’s favored foods, seals and sea lions.
Northern California great white sharks are believed to have life spans of about thirty years, and to grow to around 4,000 pounds. Though they follow solitary and habitual hunting routes along the coast between August and December, it was recently discovered that during the first half of the year the sharks convene in the deep, mid-ocean waters off the coast of Hawaii. The behavior is still mysterious, but it is believed that the sojourn provides opportunity for procreation.