Baby Shark Born in Steinhart Aquarium
It's A Girl (Or a Boy)!
The California Academy of Sciences Welcomes its First
White-Tipped Shark Born in Captivity
San Francisco (December 12, 2001) - There are two proud mothers at The
California Academy of Sciences' Steinhart Aquarium today. One is Velma,
a five-foot long white-tipped shark who gave birth to an 25-inch, three-pound
baby shark at approximately 8 a.m yesterday morning. The other is the
sharks' keeper, Pam Schaller, aquatic biologist at Steinhart Aquarium.
"The birth of a white-tipped shark in captivity is a special event,"
said Schaller, busy handing out cigars to well-wishers. "We're looking
forward to learning more about this species as we watch this shark grow
and to sharing that information with aquariums around the world."
The identity of the father was unknown. A source close to the mother said
it was one of two male white-tipped sharks in the tank - Amos or Arthur.
The sex of the baby was uncertain, leaving friends of the family wondering
if they should buy pink or blue gifts.
Just minutes after its birth, the baby shark suffered a minor bite from
one of its tank-mates and was quickly isolated to prevent it from being
eaten. Baby sharks often don't make it past their first 5 days of life;
but Velma's child appeared to be healthy and Schaller was optimistic about
her chances of surviving.
White-tipped sharks (Triaenodon obesus) live in the tropical areas of
the Indian and Pacific Oceans; they are often found near the Galapagos
islands. The sharks are most active at night, often spending their days
resting in caves and reefs.
Velma, Amos and Arthur have lived at the Steinhart Aquarium since 1996
when the Academy's shark exhibit opened. Schaller suspected that Velma
might be pregnant when she noticed bites around the shark's gills in February.
Male sharks typically bite females during copulation, which lasts about
two minutes. The gestation period was likely nine to ten months.
The Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences houses over
6,000 live specimens, representing nearly 600 species of fishes, large
invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and penguins in almost 200 tanks.
Founded in 1923, the Aquarium in now home to one of the most diverse collections
of aquatic life in the world.
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