Video: Aquarium returns sharks to the wild

Two Ragged-tooth sharks were released back into the wild on April 11 by an aquarium in South Africa.

Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town removed one of the sharks from its predator exhibit earlier in the week, prior to her release. She's called Kay, and is a female shark which has been in residence at the aquarium since 2009. The video below shows aquarist Kevin Spliby guiding her towards a 'cone', which is used to safely hoist the shark into a moving tank.

She was joined for release by a young male Ragged-tooth shark, which had been resident at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria.

The male shark was collected as a juvenile in 2011. "We have an exchange programme in place with the NZG, whereby we loan them juvenile raggies for two years to display in their marine exhibit. This system works well as the sharks have often already spent time in our aquarium, adjusting to their new environment, and then they head north to act as ambassadors in Gauteng. At the end of the two years NZG returns the sharks to us for release back into the ocean," said Tinus Beukes, the aquarium’s operations manager.

Both sharks had already been pit-tagged before going on display, but were also fitted with acoustic tags prior to release, so that their movements can be monitored for the next 10 years. You can see the release operation in the video below:

The return of the sharks back to the wild forms part of an ongoing release programme by Two Oceans Aquarium. Its sharks spend only a few years on display before being returned. Eight sharks have been released since 2004.

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