The sixth great white shark ever exhibited at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is on his way back to the wild.
The young male shark brought to Monterey on August 31 is being transported to ocean waters south of Point Conception today (October 25) by our animal care staff. He was moved out of the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit this morning and will be released offshore this afternoon.
The decision to release the shark after 55 days on exhibit was based on recent changes in how he was navigating in the exhibit, according to Jon Hoech, director of husbandry for the aquarium.
“These decisions are always governed by our concern for the health and well-being of these animals under our care,” Jon says. “It became clear that it was time to release him.”
Like the five other great white sharks that we've kept on exhibit for periods up to six-and-a-half months, the newest shark will carry a tracking tag that will document his movements in the wild. The pop-up tag will collect information on where he travels, the depths he dives to and the water temperatures he favors for the first 180 days he’s back in the wild. The tag is scheduled to pop free in late April and transmit those data back to our research team via satellite.
We remain the only aquarium in the world ever to exhibit one of the ocean’s top predators for more than 16 days. The five other sharks were successfully returned to the wild.
This young shark, a four-foot, eight-inch male weighing 43.2 pounds, was collected outside Marina del Rey on August 18 by our husbandry staff. He was transferred to a 4-million-gallon ocean holding pen off Malibu, where he remained for almost two weeks. Our team observed him swimming comfortably and documented several feedings in the pen before he was brought to Monterey.
The shark gained nearly nine pounds and grew two inches during his 55-day stay on exhibit.
Exhibit of young great white sharks just part of our Project White Shark, a collaboration with several research partners to learn more about and better protect great white sharks in the wild as well as to occasionally bring white sharks to Monterey for exhibit. Since 2002, we and our partners have tagged and tracked 45 juvenile great white sharks off southern California.