From now until April 20, 2013 the Vancouver Aquarium will be featuring The Secret World of Sharks and Rays as part of an effort to raise awareness of these complex creatures. With a growing concern over the extinction of certain shark species due to unsustainable human practices and pollution it’s become more important than ever to learn about how we can protect these amazing animals. Over the next few weeks, The Secret World of Sharks and Rays will feature exhibits and shows including a dive show and live shark feeds. Visitors will also have a chance to learn about the very real threats sharks and rays face in the wild. Most importantly, you’ll learn ways that humans can help to protect these animals.
To kick start your visit to the Vancouver Aquarium here are some little known facts about sharks and rays we picked up from our visit:
- BC is home to 14 species of sharks, including the Great White Shark
- The Vancouver Aquarium was one of the very first places to successfully breed tiger stingrays (Note: To see these incredibly elegant and beautiful creatures, head towards the Amazon exhibit)
- Rays and sharks shouldn’t be viewed the same as other fish when it comes to consumption. Unlike bony fish, they reach sexual maturity later and don’t bear many young at a time so their numbers can’t recover quickly.
- It’s estimated that humans kill over 100 million sharks each year.
- Most stingrays have eyes on top of their heads, which scientists think are more for spotting predators and mates than finding food.
- Sharks help keep ecosystems healthy and clean by feeding on live food and carrion (the dead or decaying meat from other fish). They also prey most often on the weak, ill, injured or dying prey, which helps to keep ocean species thrive.
The Vancouver Aquarium is currently home to more than a dozen sharks and rays including blacktip reef sharks, Zebra sharks, Epaulette sharks, spotted ratfish and Whiprays. To learn more about The Secret World of Sharks and what you can to help protect them, visit the Vancouver Aquarium up until April 20. For a full calendar of daily events related to this feature exhibit, visit vanaqua.org.