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« Art and the Open Sea | Main | No Ordinary Snail »

July 20, 2011


MC Sweden

Thanks, I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

Ken Peterson

I asked our veterinarian, Dr. Mike Murray, and here's what he has to say:

Hi Andrea,

As the institution’s staff veterinarian, I share your concern about the well being of this shark. Rest assured that senior leadership, in fact everybody in the institution, is more concerned about the shark’s well-being than “the money we make off him on display.”

If there is ever any evidence that the temporary home is causing health-related problems, we will react and release the shark straight away.

You have noticed the whitish discoloration of the tip of his rostrum (a common phenomenon in wild white sharks which has earned them the nickname, ‘white pointers’). I had multiple opportunities to do an up close and personal examination on this area. While the color change is dramatic, it is a very superficial lesion, and there is substantial evidence that this will heal.

I will say, however, that the healing process is going to look worse before it looks better. When the whitish membrane falls off, it will reveal a pink to red nose. This is a bed of granulation tissue consisting of blood vessels (capillaries) and cells involved in the healing process. While it might look rather gnarly, it is a good sign, and it is not painful, as there are no nerve endings there.

Gradually over time, skin cells -- including cells that produce pigment -- will migrate one-cell-step at a time from the margins of the area toward the center. Only then is the area truly healed.

Fortunately, this shark has been navigating the exhibit quite well. He hasn’t been causing further damage by turning into the walls or running into the window. So, I am cautiously optimistic that healing will occur as predicted.

If we see any evidence that things aren’t progressing as anticipated, we will intervene in a fashion most appropriate for the shark.

I do hope this alleviates your concerns and answers your questions. Admittedly this is the “Cliff Notes” version of shark wound healing, but it hopefully helps your understanding.

Andrea LeGault

the new gw on display and sores on his rostrum just like the very first one you guys put on dispaly, if in few days it does not get better what is your plan? is the shark's health more important than the money you make off of him on display

Ken Peterson

@Andrea – In the early years of our program, most of the young sharks we received were caught accidentally as bycatch in commercial fishing gear, so their health may have been compromised before they went into the pen. We now collect the animals we hope to put on exhibit, and there have been no deaths in the pen since 2007.

We continue to field-tag and release sharks caught as bycatch or collected by our tagging team (a total of 43 young white sharks since 2002).

Data from the tagged sharks is generating new information about their movements in coastal waters off southern California and Baja – information vital to their protection in these nursery areas. We've also put more than 2 million visitors face-to-face with young great white sharks – the best tool we have for inspiring visitors to care about, and care for, sharks in the wild.

Andrea LeGault

my question is for John O Sullivan who said in the above article "John O'Sullivan, who leads the Monterey Bay Aquarium white shark research project, says it's not surprising for great white sharks to do well, even after an extended time in conditions where they can't swim freely through the ocean" why then in the first 20 sharks tagged to be put on display at the aquarium did 5 die? i know you were able to put half on display and the other let go, BUT 5 is the whole litter of one female white to the Gw population, taken out. How does this help the Great white in conservation or in it's very fight survival?

Andrea Le Gault
very concerned great white shark fan

plumber in idaho

Yes Sharkgrirl9 but there are also good shark attack videos and shark research on the net too. My favorite site is the like sharks one. They have info on each shark species, lots of videos of shark encounters and attacks, and research on why attacks happen. Type like sharks into Google and its the first one

Tilapia Farming

Great Video! I watched the "Great White Invasion," program that kicks off Shark Week 2011 on the Discovery Channel.

non voice projects

Nice fish
i like it

WC los angeles

Amazing video of shark posted here. I just saw the video and it is very cool. What a great jumps of shark.

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