Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Introducing Baby Sharks

Look what the stork dropped off at The Living Planet Aquarium! In this case the stork is actually an Australian cargo plane, and the babies are five shark pups that arrived on July 11th from northeast Australia. The pups were flown to Los Angeles in self-contained, water-tight tanks complete with battery-powered aerators. After water tests, health inspections, and water changes, the new arrivals were loaded into a truck for the trip to their new home in Utah. A temperature-controlled truck drove through the night to avoid the daytime desert heat.

Three of the new additions are Gray Reef Sharks, and the other two are Blacktip Reef Sharks. They are on display in the shark tank located in the Ocean Explorer gallery. Each measures approximately 3 feet long with the potential to reach up to 8 feet in length. The older sharks were temporarily moved to a behind-the-scenes holding tank to give the pups a chance to settle in. “We wanted to get small sharks that will grow and mature before we open our new facility, which will include an 80 foot long, 300,000 gallon shark habitat,” said Andy Allison, Curator of Animals. “They arrived just in time for Shark Week which will allow us to partner with Discovery Channel to maximize the impact of our education programs,” said Allison. A new Giant Shovelnose Ray and a White Spotted Guitarfish will also accompany the sharks in their new habitat.

The arrival of the sharks marks the beginning of an exciting period for the Aquarium, which will culminate with the opening of a brand new aquarium in late 2013. The pups will remain on exhibit in the Sandy location until they are ready for transfer next year to the new aquarium in Draper.

Visit the aquarium during Shark Week (August 12-18) to participate in shark activities, learn all about these fascinating predators of the ocean, and of course, visit the new baby sharks!

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