Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Georgia Aquarium Welcomes New 'Toothy" Sharks

See the video.

/PRNewswire/ — Georgia Aquarium announced today that new sand tiger sharks have been added into the Ocean Voyager gallery, built by The Home Depot.

The sharks were introduced into the 6.3 million gallon habitat alongside the whale sharks, manta ray and many other species. The new sharks range from five to more than eight feet in length and weigh between 56 and 237 pounds.

"In keeping with the spirit of our New Every Ninety Program, we are very excited to introduce the new sand tiger sharks at Georgia Aquarium," said Gregory Bossart, Senior Vice President and Chief Veterinary Officer at Georgia Aquarium. "Through teaching guests about these scary-looking, yet docile species, the Aquarium will create awareness about their declining numbers."

The sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) is listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List. The sand tiger shark is caught for human consumption, as well as for fishmeal and liver oil, and the fins are used for leather production. The species has the lowest reproductive rate among sharks, giving birth every two years to one or two pups after a gestation period of 9 to 12 months.

According to an independent Harris Poll, 17% of men and 13% of women said that sharks were their favorite aquatic animal. The Georgia Aquarium currently houses whale sharks, zebra sharks, black-tip reef sharks, tasseled wobbegongs, great hammerhead, bonnethead sharks, bamboo sharks, brown-banded bamboo sharks, white-spotted bamboo sharks, epaulette sharks, swell sharks, horn sharks and now sand tiger sharks.

The sand tiger sharks are a part of the Aquarium's New Every Ninety Program, designed to bring a new animal, exhibit or program to the Aquarium every quarter. In August, the Aquarium introduced the Titanic Aquatic exhibit, which has seen 50,000 visitors, as well as Nandi, the first manta ray in a U.S. Aquarium, to kick-off the New Every Ninety Program.


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