Baby zebra sharks have gone on display for the first time in The Deep's Lagoon of Light.
The young sharks hatched out at The Deep in Hull 18 months ago, from eggs sent by Shedd Aquarium in Chicago back in 2014. Now measuring 1.2 metres in length, Marty, Seb and Tommo have been introduced to their new home in the Lagoon, where they join a number of other shark and stingray species.
Tom Rowe, The Deep's Aquarist in charge of their care, has been working closely with the sharks since they hatched out last year. He tells us more: “We are very excited about being able to allow our visitors to view our young sharks. Thanks to successful breeding and rearing techniques, this is the first time The Deep has been able to do this. At just over a year old they are strong enough for a less intensive regime; however, we will continue to monitor them closely.
“We have been weighing and measuring the zebra sharks on a regular basis to make sure that they are developing as they should be. We have also been training to feed from a target so that we can keep an eye on exactly how much food each shark is eating. This target feeding will continue in the Lagoon and, alongside our daily scatter feeds, will become part of the Lagoon dives. Visitors will have the chance to see these techniques put into practice, up close and personal.”
The Deep is actively involved in the EAZA (European Association for Zoos and Aquariums) Breeding Programme. As part of this, two of the youngsters will move on to new homes in Europe in the coming year. This is to ensure they live with other non-related sharks in order to form new breeding pairs.
The Deep has also successfully bred this species in the aquarium in recent months. The female zebra shark housed in the Endless Oceans display produced a number of fertile eggs, which have been developing behind the scenes. So far the submarium has had one female and three males hatch out, who have been named Izzy, Casper, Leonard and Arran.
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