What It's Like... To Care for a Great White Shark | Scuba Diving

What It's Like... To Care for a Great White Shark

Great White Shark at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: For those interested in marine biology, what path did you take to become the person looking after great whites?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: How is the new great white doing?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: What type of special care do you provide the shark?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: Do volunteer divers still dive in the exhibit with the white sharks?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: Why are great whites brought to the aquarium? Is it for rehabilitation or to study them? To bring attention to great whites or to the aquarium?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: The previous five great whites have spent different amounts of time in the aquarium — anywhere from 11 days to more than six months. What goes into the decision to release them?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: These are open-ocean fish — what type of insights does having the shark in an aquarium setting provide?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Q: How would you respond to critics of aquariums housing big predators like great whites?

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Text by David Espinosa
Photos by Monterey Bay Aquarium/ Randy Wilder

It’s no secret: For the right reasons or the wrong (Jaws), sharks have a hold on the human imagination. Don’t believe me? Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is one of the highest-rated television shows of the year. Closer to home, we recently posted a video on Scuba Diving’s Facebook page of scuba divers swimming outside the cage with great white sharks off Guadalupe Island, Baja California. That video received more Likes and Shares than all but two posts we’ve ever put up.

So it was with great interest that I noticed a report of a new great white shark in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the most revered aquariums in the world (and luckily near enough to my home that I visit it a handful of times every year). On August 18, staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium collected a great white shark near Malibu, California. The sixth great white collected by the aquarium, the 4’ 7”, 43-pound male was kept in an ocean-holding pen for two weeks before transferring to the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit on August 31. We spoke to Associate Curator of Elasmobranches, Manny Ezcurra, about what it’s like to take care of one of the ocean’s greatest predators, and the interview can be found in the photo gallery above.

For video of the new white shark, click here

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