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Rare Shark Born At Sydney Aquarium


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Rare shark born at Sydney aquarium

A Sydney aquarium has successfully bred a critically endangered grey nurse shark for the second time.

A male shark pup was born at Oceanworld Manly on February 6 to 20-year-old mother Pallas.

The birth comes five years after female pup Maia was born to a different mother at the same aquarium.

Oceanworld Manly is one of only three aquariums worldwide that have successfully bred the endangered species.

To get as far as he has, the pup has already beaten the odds.

Developing grey nurse embryos feed on other fertilised eggs until there is only one left in each of the shark's two wombs.

Grey nurse sharks are often born in pairs - one from each of two uteruses - and can hunt and survive without parental care from birth.

Oceanworld Manly's new pup is an only child and was immediately separated from the main Oceanarium to protect him from larger predatory animals.

The grey nurse species, known as the sandtiger shark in the UK and US, and the ragged tooth shark in South Africa, is vulnerable to extinction worldwide.

But it is critically endangered off Australia's east coast where there are only 500 left in the wild.

Oceanworld Manly's general manager Jade Hayes says years of hunting had made the slow-moving animals vulnerable to extinction.

"Thirty years ago, sharks were hunted and killed ... it was a sport to kill them," Ms Hayes said.

"What makes the grey nurse vulnerable was that they look quite scary - which is why they are great for aquariums - even though they are not.

"They don't move very fast, they kind of coast along which makes them more vulnerable, and their habitat is in shallow water close to the coast.

"Also, they don't breed until they are about 12, so they're not keeping numbers up in the wild either."

Oceanworld Manly will shortly put the naming rights to the new pup up for sale on eBay, with all proceeds going towards the Grey Nurse shark conservation program.

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