Churaumi Aquarium hosts world-first tiger shark birth from captive breeding

Churaumi Aquarium hosts world-first tiger shark birth from captive breeding

A baby tiger shark emerges from its mother. (Photograph courtesy of Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium)

March 24, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

Roughly between noon and 4 p.m. on March 23, a tiger shark gave birth in a shark display tank at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu Town. Tiger sharks live in ranges from the tropics to temperate zones, and this is the first time a tiger shark has given birth from breeding in captivity. The mother gave birth to about 30 baby sharks, ranging from 60 to 80 centimeters in length.

The female tiger shark was caught in a stationary net off the coast in Yomitan Village, and afterward her breeding at Churaumi Aquarium began. She conceived at the time, as was detectable by the swelling of her abdomen. The births took place in a tank containing several other sharks, so for the safety of the baby shark it was moved to a reserve tank outside of the aquarium, where the baby shark swam energetically.

On March 23 at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu Town, a baby tiger shark that was just born swims energetically.

During the birth, an announcement was made throughout the aquarium facilities that this birth was a “world-first” occurrence, drawing a large throng of people to the shark tank. Those who witnessed the birth of the baby tiger sharks applauded and cheered.

Atsushi Kaneko, who is involved in planning and public relations for Churaumi Aquarium, said that people are generally very familiar with sharks, although many things are still unknown about their ways of life. He thinks that elucidating this mystery through breeding is one role of an aquarium.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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