White Shark Released Back to the Wild
The young male white shark that has been a resident of our Outer Bay exhibit since September was tagged and returned to the wild shortly after sunrise today. It marks the second time in two years that we have exhibited a white shark and then returned it safely back to the wild.
He was released from a boat in Monterey Bay after staff attached an electronic data tag that will track his movements for the next 90 days. Information documenting where the shark travels, how deep it dives and the water temperatures it favors will be relayed to scientists via satellite when the tag pops free on April 16th.
The shark had grown considerably from an initial length of 5-foot-8 and 103 pounds when he arrived on August 31, 2006, to its current size of 6-foot-5 and 171 pounds. He was healthy and feeding at the time of release, but had grown large enough that to delay the release much longer would have posed more risks to the shark and our staff during the move. We expect he‚€™ll do well after release, just as our first white shark did.
The white shark did not hunt or attack any of the other animals in the Outer Bay exhibit and fed only on salmon, black cod and albacore offered by our staff. In recent weeks, he began to develop abrasions on his snout‚€”another consideration that factored into the timing of
We are the only aquarium ever to exhibit the ocean‚€™s top predator for more than 16 days. The first shark to do well on exhibit, a female, was here for 198 days in 2004-2005. The animal released today was here for 137 days. He is nine inches longer and 68 pounds heavier than when
He was seen by nearly 600,000 people‚€”about eight percent more visitors than usual for this time period. The first Sunday he was on exhibit ‚€“ over Labor Day weekend ‚€“ we set an all-time attendance record, with nearly 17,000 people visiting the aquarium, including over 5,000 members.
We‚€™ve learned a lot from the two white sharks we have had on exhibit, as well as from the juvenile and adult white sharks that have been tagged and tracked as part of our white shark project. Since 2002, we have committed more than $1 million to white shark field research, much of it coming directly from the additional admission fees we‚€™ve received as a result of people visiting specifically to see our white sharks.
Like the female shark released two years ago, this white shark was ‚€œa powerful emissary for ocean conservation,‚€Ě said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. Visitors came away with a deeper understanding of the need to protect white sharks and their ocean homes.
For more information about the white shark‚€™s release and what we‚€™re doing to protect sharks and all ocean wildlife, visit our web site. The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.
Because I live in Monterey, I was able to enjoy the exhibit often. This was a massive success (again).
The MBA is a great institution, I'm sure that the benifits of this experiment will be long lasting.