A Cownose ray pup is doing swimmingly after being born by caesarian section at an aquarium in the US - and it's thought to be a first!
Staff at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, noticed that one of the female Cownose rays in the 84,000 gal 'Ray Bay' exhibit had not given birth along with the other pregnant rays.
Aquarium staff use an ultra sound to track the progress of each female pregnancy. The pup was retained for an extra 6-8 weeks with hopes of a natural birth. When it became clear that wasn't going to happen, the decision was made to perform a caesarian section in the hope of saving both the pup, and its mother.
Ripley’s veterinarian Dr. Robert George, performed the operation, assisted by staff. "To our knowledge, this is the first time a caesarian section has produced a live Cownose pup,” said Ryan DeSear, general manager of the aquarium.
Both the pup and the mother are doing well and are both happily swimming together in the tank at Ripley's.
You can see a video of the procedure below: