Two baby zebra sharks born from artificial insemination were displayed at an aquarium in Long Beach, California.
The two baby sharks are 10 months old and are the first zebra sharks to be born out of artificial insemination.
The sharks have their bodies speckled with vertical stripes and are shaped like a torpedo. Researchers say that these sharks could help further research on how to save the endangered shark species in the wild.
According to Perry Hampton, one of the people in charge of the aquarium, more than 100 million sharks are killed yearly by pollution, over fishing or loss of habitat.
The zebra shark species has been listed as being vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The shark ended up on the endangered species list mostly because of adverse human influence.
The two baby sharks have been transferred from the “nursery” aquarium to the large exhibit aquarium, next to the mother of the sharks, called Fern. The aquarium officials said that they are hoping to have the baby zebra sharks for public display until Valentine’s Day; the visitors will be able to touch the baby sharks.
These are the first zebra sharks to be bred using artificial insemination, and since it was a successful one, the scientists want to apply the same technique and breed another species of shark, the bamboo shark.
There are only two countries in the world that use artificial insemination to breed sharks: Australia and Japan.
The researchers from Long Beach have been experimenting with artificial insemination using balcktip reef sharks, which are known to give birth to live sharks, rather than eggs.
One of the researchers said that they are taking it slowly because they are on a learning level and still have more to discover.
The Long Beach aquarium wants to partner with other special facilities so they can diversify the gene pool of the captive zebra shark.
According to the scientists, the zebra shark can breed normally if held in institutions because they share the same genetic data.
The researchers explained that the shark population in captivity becomes very small, genetically speaking.
Image Source: scoopnest