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Live Webcam: Monterey Bay Aquarium’s New Great White Shark

| September 1, 2011
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The Monterey Bay Aquarium got a new great white shark yesterday.

Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

For the sixth time since 2004, our husbandry team has successfully brought a juvenile great white shark from the wild to temporarily reside in the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He was collected by our team in a purse seine net in waters near Malibu, and arrived at the Aquarium August 31. The young shark, a four-foot, seven-inch male, weighs 43.2 pounds…

We’ll keep you updated through our Facebook page and this blog, so you can find out how he’s doing. Our number one concern is his health and well-being (and, of course, that of the other animals with whom he will share the water during his stay).You can also check on him yourself when you visit the Aquarium, or on our live HD web cam!

I’m watching the webcam now and I can see ole Jaws swim by pretty frequently. Every few minutes the voice of a docent drops in to relate a few great white facts as well.

The cam says feeding time is coming up at 11 a.m. If that’s too much for you, you can probably get a similar feeling from reading about the San Francisco mayoral race.

Update 11:05 a.m. I spoke with the aquarium’s communications director, Ken Peterson, who told me the shark is less than a year old. He said it will be in the exhibit “as long as it tells us by its behavior that it’s doing well. We’ve had five great white sharks in the past; they’ve been with us for as long as six-and-a-half months and as little as 11 days. In the case of the animal that was here for 11 days, it fed only one time, and we decided it was best to get it back to the wild.”

I hit him this penetrating question any 6th grader would have been proud to ask: How come the shark doesn’t eat those other fish I see swimming around the tank in the webcam?

“As with any of us, we don’t spend all of our lives eating. Our goal with these multi-species exhibits is to keep everybody well-fed so that none of them has an incentive to go hunting to get a meal. And that’s basically been the case. We’ve had, with a couple of the sharks in the past,+ aggressive behavior, and that was one of the signs it was time to get that shark back to the wild.

“Our staff is really going to be working to try to get this shark to take its first meal at the aquarium. What we do is place a piece of food — probably a wild-caught sustainable salmon — at the end of a cotton pole, and we’ll be dragging it through the water trying to get the great white to feed on that. If it doesn’t like salmon, we might try mackerel, which is what it was eating in the pen in Malibu.”

I didn’t ask him whether a shark who finds itself in Northern California will only eat wild-caught, sustainable fish. But I was thinking it.

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