Aquarium’s sharks moved to tidal pool
Raggies Zig and Sharko transfer to new habitat after outgrowing tank
The East London Aquarium successfully moved two ragged-tooth sharks from exhibit tanks and into their tidal display pool on Thursday morning.
The sharks, named Zig and Sharko, weigh 21kg and 39kg and they have outgrown the aquarium’s tank.
They were moved, without too much of a fight, to the shark and manta ray display pool and this will be their new habitat until nature takes its course and the high tides take them out to sea.
“Both are female and they were caught at Kiwane as pups about a year ago,” said EL Aquarium superintendent Steven Rheeder.
“The females get much bigger and can weigh up to 250kg when they are fully grown, so we move them out of the exhibit and replace them regularly.
“They grow much quicker in captivity because food is always available so they’ve only been here for about a year.”
The sharks were sedated before a team of six aquarium staff members hoisted them out of the exhibit and onto stretchers to release them into the tidal pool. It took two weeks of careful planning and co-ordination to make the move as seamless as possible.
“It’s usually quite a fight and ragged-tooth sharks have the ability to turn to their tail and almost fold in two, they’re so flexible. So we have to be very careful and prepared.
“It usually takes a few of us to get them out,” said aquarium assistant Ilse Rheeder.
While two staff members kitted out in wetsuits entered the exhibit, another four were ready to place the sharks onto the stretchers and hold them down.
“We also tagged the two sharks. In future it will be interesting to see how far they’ve travelled and where they end up,” said Rheeder.
“Tagging gives us a better opportunity to research the species.”
Although tank 17, which used to house the two majestic underwater beasts, looked a bit bare after the move, the aquarium plans to fill it with two new raggie pups on Friday.
“We have two pups that are waiting to be moved into the exhibit and these two were also caught out at Kiwane recently,” said Rheeder...