The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, USA has put a young Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) on display in its one million gallon 'Open Sea' exhibit.
The 140cm/4' 7" male shark was captured by a team from the aquarium off the southern California coast and transferred to a 4 million gallon sea holding pen for a fortnight of monitoring to make certain it was feeding consistently, before being moved to the aquarium in a specially designed transport vehicle.
The capture and display of these mighty predators is controversial, with many seeing it as nothing more than a publicity stunt to attract visitors, but the aquarium has defended its actions, saying it hopes that during its temporary stay the shark will help raise public awareness of these often vilified predators, while at the same time allowing scientists to study their habits at close quarters.
This is the sixth Great white the aquarium has displayed in the tank since 2004, with all the previous specimens being successfully released back into the wild at the end of their stay – usually when they either showed signs of stress or aggression to other tank inhabitants.
The released sharks were also tagged and this has offered interesting insights into their movements in the wild.
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