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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