First video of a baby white shark

It's the first time in history that's happened. She was barely born. The images were recorded off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in July 2023. It is the first video of a baby white shark.

Filmmaker Carlos Gauna and biology student Phillip Sternes were filming with a drone. Gauna had seen several presumably pregnant females in the same area. An unusual white shark appearing on the surface of the water caught his attention.

It is the first video of a newborn baby white shark.
It is the first video of a newborn baby white shark.

unexpected meeting

«That day, one of them submerged. Not long after, this all-white shark appeared. “It is not difficult to deduce where the baby came from,” said the filmmaker.

White sharks (carcharodon carcharias) are usually gray above and white below. The newborn shark spotted by observers was completely white. “No one has seen a birth or a newborn calf in the wild,” Sternes said.

The details of the first video of a baby white shark are in an article that was published in January 2024. The small size of the shark and its rounded fins, similar to those of an embryo, are the clue. They indicate that the calf was between a few hours and a few days old when the images were recorded. The short time that elapsed between the submergence of a pregnant female and the subsequent appearance of the newborn calf is relevant.

Gauna and Sternes also observed that a whitish coating was shed as the shark swam. “I think it was a newborn great white shark shedding its embryonic shell,” Sternes says.

They estimated that the animal was 1.5 meters long, the same size as a baby of this species. If the same specimen is sighted again, it will be possible to compare how its skin has changed over time and how much it has grown.

Nothing similar had ever been recorded in this species.
Nothing similar had ever been recorded in this species.

Protected waters

The discovery of a baby white shark could be an important signal. It would help ensure adequate protection of this aquatic area, as the species is in danger of extinction.

«It is necessary to continue investigating. We want to confirm that that area is really a breeding ground for white sharks. But if so, we would like lawmakers to protect these waters so that white sharks continue to thrive,” Sternes concluded.

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