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Great white shark dies after release from Monterey Bay Aquarium

November 03, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Visitors snap photos of the young great white shark on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in September.
Visitors snap photos of the young great white shark on display at the Monterey… (David Royal / Associated…)

A young great white shark released into the wild last week after being on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has died, marking the first unexplained shark death since the aquarium began capturing and exhibiting them in 2004.

The shark found off Marina del Rey in August had been part of the aquarium's "Open Sea" exhibit for 55 days. It was released into the sea off Goleta, Calif., on Oct. 25 and died a little later, according to an electronic tracking device affixed to the shark.

"While we determined it was best not to keep him on exhibit any longer, we had no reservations about whether the shark would do well in the wild," aquarium veterinarian Dr. Mike Murray said in a statement. "That’s why his death is both distressing and puzzling."

As a result, the aquarium plans to review its "procedures and protocols" related to the shark exhibits. Five other young sharks have thrived after being released into the wild with tracking devices. One died after being caught in a fishing net in Baja California, Mexico.

The display of young great whites, which gives visitors an opportunity to see the ocean behemoths up close, has been a pivotal part of the aquarium's project aimed at researching and protecting sharks as well as educating the public about shark conservation.

The first display of a great white in 2004 drew almost 1 million visitors, the aquarium's website says.


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