Two uShaka Sea World ragged-tooth sharks take up residence in the UK

Two of uShaka Sea World’s juvenile ragged-tooth sharks recently took up residence in their new home at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth in the United Kingdom.

Although ragged-tooth sharks are common in marine aquariums around the world, they rarely produce offspring, which makes these two sharks rather unique since they were both born at uShaka Sea World.

Storm is a two-and-a-half-year-old, 60kg female and Tony is an eight-month old, 25kg male. Notch, their mother, would have had a nine- to 12-month gestation period before each birth.

A mandatory quarantine period is required before and after relocation

 

The young juveniles are currently of a size that they can no longer be accommodated in an uShaka Sea World exhibit – they are too small to be kept with the large predators, but large enough to decimate the fish populations in the other exhibits.

On Tuesday, 27 October 2015 Storm and Tony were loaded into heavy-duty plastic moulded containers, together with accompanying documents from the South African state veterinarian, and driven to OR Tambo International Airport on the first leg of their journey to the National Marine Aquarium.

A member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the National Marine Aquarium is the United Kingdom’s largest, and is the first aquarium in the UK to be set up for education, conservation and research, objectives it shares with uShaka Sea World.

Opening the sharks' special transportation containers on arrival in the UK

As Storm and Tony were born in captivity to known parents, these two youngsters are valuable to science, and will provide information on their life histories as they grow.

Although South Africa has a healthy population of ragged-tooth sharks (also known as sand tiger sharks or grey nurse sharks), the species is considered to be vulnerable to over-exploitation due to their late maturity (between seven and 10 years, dependent on gender) and particularly small litters – only two pups are born. 

With this in mind, the sharing of these two animals with an accredited facility like the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth enables us to continue to monitor their development and gain further of knowledge about the species. In addition, Storm and Tony will be able to continue to inspire and educate the many visitors to their new home about the importance of marine conservation.

Storm is loaded into a stretcher

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