Monterey Bay Aquarium White Shark Dies Shortly After Release
November 2, 2011
The juvenile male great white shark released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Oct. 25 died shortly after parting from his human captors according to data collected from an electronic tracking device.
The 52-pound shark was released 55 days after going on display. Scientists charged with its care were concerned with how the predator was navigating the MBA’s newest draw, the Open Sea Exhibit.
The aquarium team didn’t get the news of the sharks demise until the electronic tag was returned Tuesday—having popped free sometime Saturday off the Southern California coast.
“While we determined it was best not to keep him on exhibit any longer, we had no reservations about whether the shark would do well in the wild,” MBA Staff Veterinarian Dr. Mike Murray says. “That’s why his death is both distressing and puzzling.”
Although the shark was having problems in the exhibit, it put on nearly two inches and nine pounds during its time at the aquarium, making his death upon release somewhat of a mystery.
Jon Hoech, the aquarium’s director of husbandry, says his entire team is “surprised and saddened by the outcome” and will now focus on reviewing procedures and protocols leading up to the sharks release.
Of the six great white sharks put on exhibit since 2004, this is the first and only death that looks to be a direct result of being captured and released by MBA.