Sharks released back into ocean after 19 years

2011-07-28 07:03

Port Elizabeth’s oceanarium has released two ragged-tooth sharks back into the ocean after they were held in captivity for almost 20 years.

The pair was now part of a research project aimed at creating South Africa’s oceans as a safe haven for ragged-tooth sharks, The Herald Online reported.

Their release was a carefully coordinated exercise, overseen by oceanarium expert Tony McEwan.

First three quarters of the water in their holding tank was released, while oxygen was being pumped into the tank to ensure the sharks could continue breathing normally.

Then anaesthetic was emptied into the remaining water.

Fifteen minutes later, the sharks became sluggish after absorbing the anaesthetic through their gills.

A team got into the water with the fish, moved them onto stretchers and tagged them.

The sharks were transported in crates on a truck to the harbour, where a crane was used to lower them into the sea.

Aquarium curator Steve Warren said he was confident the pair was capable of coping in the wild because they had often hunted their own fish in the tank.

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