Great White Shark on Display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Great White Shark on display at the Monterey Bay AquariumAs of August 31st, 2011, the sixth live great white shark to ever go on display made it’s debut in the Open Sea tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

This is one of the things that makes the Monterey Bay Aquarium great in my opinion, sharing this beautiful creature with the world, alive and magnificent. I visited the second great white they ever displayed, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had seen sharks in aquariums, reef sharks while SCUBA diving, in documentary films, and of course Shark Week, but this was unlike any shark I had ever seen.

The beauty and grace of a great white shark (even one this small) can be seen on TV, but encountering it in person is a completely different experience (even if it is only in a tank). Being that close and in person gave me a sense of awe an appreciation like nothing else, only if I had been swimming alongside it would I have felt deeper. Exactly the response conservationists at the aquarium are hoping for in placing this shark on display.

Our mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans. We know that bringing people face-to-face with living marine animals is a powerful way to move people to care about the oceans and ocean life. White sharks are among the most maligned animals on Earth, and one of many shark species worldwide threatened by human activities. In fact, they’re protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

We believe there’s no better way for us to raise awareness about the threats white sharks face than to let people see for themselves what magnificent and fascinating animals they are, tell the story of the threats they face in the wild, and offer ways to take action that will protect white sharks. Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard said that the first white shark we exhibited in 2004-05 was “the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history.”
-Monterey Bay Aquarium

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The Aquarium and it’s conservation arm are doing some great things in great white shark research through tagging and monitoring populations, helping us learn more and more about this important apex predator.

If you can’t get to the aquarium to visit him, you can catch glimpses of this beautiful animal cruising the tank along with all of the other residents of the open sea tank on their live web cam.

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