What It's Like... To Care for a Great White Shark
Q: What type of special care do you provide the shark?A: We find handling a white shark at the aquarium is much like the way we handle our tunas — also pelagic predators that are obligate ram ventilators (they need to swim to get oxygen from the water over their gills). We try to minimize the time they are immobilized, and we ventilate them during the short periods of time when they're restrained. Otherwise, we don’t handle them much and try to provide the right environment in which they can feed, grow, and inspire our visitors to protect their ocean habitat.
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