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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Second rare shark dies in aquarium mystery

Just realised I never posted the article about the whale shark deaths at the Georgia Aquarium!

The comments are particularly insightful for this article. If the general public understands that large pelagic marine animals are not meant for captivity, there is no reason why aquariums and such facilities do not. The truth is, these facilities ignore this blatantly obvious fact because they are only concerned with profit.

They can white-wash what they are doing with the word "conservation" as much as they like but in the end the sheer action of keeping these animals in captivity proves that they only care about making money!

Second Rare Shark Dies In Aquarium Mystery
Two Rare Whale Sharks Die In Same Atlanta Facility Months Apart
ATLANTA, June 14, 2007 by David S Morgan, CBS News

(CBS/AP) Another whale shark (Norton) died Wednesday at the Georgia Aquarium, the second this year at the only facility outside Asia to display the huge, rare fish.

In January, Ralph, a whale shark who was one of the aquarium's first stars when it opened in 2005, died from peritonitis, an infection in his abdomen.

Aquarium officials said Wednesday that Norton had stopped eating in recent months and swam erratically. Early Wednesday, he settled to the bottom of the aquarium's centerpiece Ocean Voyager tank.

Norton was euthanized after his health didn't improve. His death will be investigated for any possible link to Ralph's death, aquarium officials said.

Ralph had stomach problems that inflamed a membrane in his abdomen, but the aquarium has also said a chemical used in cleaning the sharks' tank may have contributed to Ralph's loss of appetite. The tank-cleaning routine since has been changed.

This Atlanta Journal-Constitution article provides more information about Ralph's death, stating:
The aquarium had four whale sharks until January, when a male, Ralph, died. A necropsy showed the fish died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdomen. He also had stomach perforations, possibly caused by force-feeding through a PVC pipe.

Adding to the controversy is the death of Gaspar, a Beluga whale that also died at the aquarium in January. Gaspar, who was rescued from a Mexican amusement park (and was 300 pounds underweight at the time), died of a bone infection.

The deaths of these sharks has the critics circling, reports Strassmann. Much of the criticism is philosophical — whether creatures so enormous, and whale sharks can grow to 40 feet — can ever be kept healthy in captivity.

"There’s sadness over the death of a magnificent animal," Lori Marino, Behavioral Biologist from Emory University told CBS. "And then anger because that animal should not have been there in the first place."

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