Hilton the shark heads south after long sojourn off Nova Scotia coast
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HALIFAX — A well-loved great white shark has finally taken his leave from Canadian waters and is heading south for the holidays, but not before sending well wishes to his northerly fans.
Hilton, a tagged shark who has his own Twitter feed and more than 18,000 followers, posted a message that he had ventured to the coast of New Hampshire following a lengthy sojourn off Nova Scotia.
"Where do I find Christmas celebrations in New England?" the cheeky 600-kilogram great white said in his latest tweet, which features a map showing his latest ping Sunday night along with a Santa emoji.
Just before his departure, Hilton — or more precisely the humans handling his social media — shared his fondness for the area with his followers.
"#IWillNeverForgetTheTime I spent in Nova Scotia. Onward to new destinations," he tweeted, receiving 127 likes along with responses from some saying they hope he will return to the area next summer.
Hilton first appeared on Nova Scotia's south shore in early August, charming locals with a wry Twitter feed chronicling his movements.
The almost four-metre-long shark was tagged by the research group Ocearch in March in South Carolina.
The group says Hilton's stay off the province may suggest it is a breeding ground for the species, which could help unravel the mysterious mating habits of great white sharks.
Ocearch founder Chris Fischer said the shark may have stuck around the area, despite a few detours, in a bid to find a potential mate, saying: "They should only have one thing on their mind and that's making baby sharks."
Based on Ocearch's findings, shark migration patterns in Nova Scotia's southern waters are consistent with there being a breeding site in the area.
Fischer said the U.S.-based group is hoping to get Ottawa's permission to launch an expedition in Eastern Canada next fall to scout out potential mating sites in the area. He wants to tag between 20 and 50 sharks in the region.
Hilton wasn't the only tagged shark that has been spotted around Nova Scotia.
A 300 kilogram great white shark affectionately known as Pumpkin was detected in the Minas Basin in July. A 900 kilogram great white named Lydia, who also has her own Twitter account managed by Ocearch, was spotted around Sable Island in 2013 and 2016.
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