A new shopping mall in Ukraine has come under fire for keeping a Sand tiger shark in an aquarium that protesters say is too small.
The Ocean Plaza in Kiev opened in November last year and features a 2m long shark - called Big John - along with four much smaller sharks in an aquarium (scroll down for video). The tank is reported to have a volume of 300 cubic metres (around 66,000 gal/297,000 l.)
Campaigners from an eco-group called Zemlyane accuse the mall of keeping the shark in abusive conditions. They say that he can hardly turn around in the aquarium and that injuries to his nose have been caused by him rubbing it on the decor as he turns.
However, the management say that the injuries to the shark's nose were caused during transportation and that the aquarium is big enough. It adds that Sand tiger sharks don’t swim much, preferring to hover inside underwater caves hunting for weak or wounded fish.
A group of several dozen people arrived at Ocean Plaza at the weekend, to protest against the keeping of such a large shark in the aquarium. They demand that the size of the aquarium is either increased, or the shark re-homed elsewhere.
If their demands aren't met, members of Zemlyane say that they will call for shoppers to boycott the mall.
You can see Big John swimming in the aquarium at the shopping mall, below.
Bloggers on the Internet reported yesterday that the shark in question had died, when it apparently sank to the bottom of the tank and lay motionless. However, the management at Ocean Plaza has denied this.
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