UAE | General

Sand tiger sharks to make a splash in Dubai Mall

The sand tiger sharks form part of the 33,000 expected population of aquatic animals in Dubai Aquarium, they are also known as grey nurse sharks.

  • By Emmanuelle Landais, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:02 July 7, 2008
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied Picture
  • Sand tiger sharks in aquariums have been known to live up to 16 years. They are now listed as vulnerable which means they still face a high risk of extinction in the wild.
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Dubai: Thirty vulnerable shark species have arrived in the UAE to live in Dubai Aquarium at the Dubai Mall.

Sand tiger sharks were listed endangered in 1996 but have bounced back and will be on show in the 50-metre long aquarium next month.

Developed by Emaar Malls Group, Dubai Aquarium, is set to be one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and is scheduled to open on August 28.

The sand tiger sharks form part of the 33,000 expected population of aquatic animals in Dubai Aquarium, they are also known as grey nurse sharks.

According to Rita Bento, marine biologist at the Emirates Diving Association, sand tiger sharks are considered vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Animals are listed as vulnerable when they are not critically endangered or endangered but face a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future. They were classified endangered back in 1996, but not anymore, said Bento.

"They are vulnerable because this large coastal species of shark has one of the lowest reproductive rates...giving birth to one or two large young every two years.... Although the species is widespread, regional populations are isolated and no longer thought to mix," she said.

According to Emaar Malls Group the sharks were delivered under the stringent supervision of the Oceanis Australia Group in line with international best practices.

Curator of Dubai Aquarium Paul Hamilton, said total care was taken in the transportation of the sharks which are now adapting to their new environment.

"The management of marine species for Dubai Aquarium involves careful logistical planning and we are working with a highly qualified and vastly experienced staff. Sand tiger sharks are amazing creatures and their arrival to the aquarium marks a major milestone for the project," he said.

Transportation, housing and maintaining the selected species within Dubai Aquarium comply with all relevant international and regional government permits, including Cites, Emaar Malls Group has reported.

The planning and setting up of Dubai Aquarium is in accordance with the guidelines of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and abides by a comprehensive Code of Ethics and Animal Care with respect to the acquisition and display of the selected species.

What are tiger sharks?

- Tiger sharks are large bodied animals, reaching up to 3.5 metres.

- They are a docile, non-aggressive species.

- They are found in warm or temperate waters throughout the world's oceans, except the eastern Pacific and have a tendency towards shoreline habitats.

-They were classified endangered back in 1996, but have since bounced back.

- The sand tiger shark is migratory within its region.

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