Listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red Data List, this breakthrough breeding of Zebra sharks has enabled the aquarium to inject a brand new family line into the EAZA (European Association for Zoos and Aquariums) Breeding Programme. The arrival of these pups is a great achievement, as they were bred by a pair with no previous reproductive history. Their bloodline adds a new branch to the breeding programme -essential to maintaining the viability of this species for future generations.
Of the six youngsters, the two females will remain at The Deep, along with their mother. One of the three males hatched from eggs sent to The Deep by Shedd Aquarium, Chicago in 2014, will also stay to complete the breeding group. The inclusion of an American-bred male will create yet another bloodline. The remaining two males hatched from the Shedd Aquarium eggs, along with The Deep’s four males, will be transferred to other aquariums in the hope that they too will contribute to the EAZA Breeding Programme in the future. As a dedicated conservation charity, The Deep makes a contribution to a number of essential European Species Breeding and Monitoring Programmes.
It is the only aquarium in the UK to house a pair of critically endangered Green Sawfish, and through collaboration with other aquariums in Europe, The Deep is working to build a genetic database of each individual in its care in order to learn more about their biology and devise innovative methods for successful reproduction. This will aid in the protection of the remaining wild populations around the world.