Arrival of Black Tip Sharks

Arrival of Black Tip Shark group as part of SEA LIFE Blackpool’s Shark Watchers Breeding Programme

SEA LIFE Blackpool has welcomed three Black Tip Sharks who have taken up residence in the popular Ocean Display. They are to become part of a special new programme where visitors will be recruited as ‘Shark Watchers.’

Marine experts hope the sharp eyes of SEA LIFE visitors will help to rear dozens of baby sharks to help safeguard the species in the wild.

The group of Black Tips consists of two male and one female who have all reached the sexually mature age of five years. The new residents have been grouped together with four other Black Tips already part of Blackpool’s collection of sharks in anticipation of a breeding bonanza.

The ‘Shark Watchers,’ who will be invited to take part in the programme throughout the summer, will watch closely the behaviour of the sharks, detect courtship activity, as well as monitor the females throughout their pregnancy.

Jenn Newton, General Manager, said: “We’re really excited to be welcoming the breeding group, they will be a welcome addition to the SEA LIFE family. Some of the sharks have already shown signs of mating behaviour so we’re hopeful our Shark Watchers will have plenty of activity to record.”

The volunteers will all receive a four-page guide telling them what to watch out for and how to record any significant observations. They will be asked to hand their recordings in so that they can be checked regularly and the displays team can act swiftly.

Black Tip Reef Shark

The guide was developed with help of Canadian artist, and wildlife expert, 63 year old Ila France Porcher, who spent 15 years snorkelling daily with the same group of Black Tip Reef Sharks off Tahiti, until they were tragically caught and finned.

SEA LIFE Senior Creator Chris Brown said about the new programme: “We have the opportunity to establish a world-leading captive breeding programme, but we will need to learn a great deal very quickly.

“The pressures on sharks in the wild mainly from shark-finning have been devastating to shark populations.

“What we learn from our captive breeding programme could help scientists calculate how quickly the wild population may decline.”

The Black Tip Reef Sharks are a key feature in SEA LIFE Blackpool’s new exhibit for 2014 – the UK’s first SHARK MISSION where customers follow the amazing underwater journey that sharks undertake each year. They are able to follow the fascinating animals, moving through interactive discovery areas tracing their breath-taking journey through life. Getting to know their habitat, their anatomy, and the dangers they face.

Black Tip Reef Sharks grow up to a maximum of two metres and are often found in very shallow waters in the east Mediterranean.

Each year SEA LIFE Centres run a Shark Week event and this year visitors can join in with Magnus the Shark’s fun activities between 24rd May – 1st June 2014 at SEA LIFE Blackpool.

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