Photo Courtesy of Maui Ocean Project: mauioceancenter.com
If you love marine life, you may be excited to hear that three grey reef shark pups were very recently born at the Maui Ocean Center in the 750,000 gallon Open Ocean exhibit. One of the pups was a male, and the other two were females, with an average length of 22 inches. The pups were born after an 11-12 month gestation period.
To ensure the safety of the pups, the aquarists of course transferred them to a protected quarantine zone before it was announced by Curatorial Director John Gorman that all would be released into the ocean offshore. Evidently, the pups are born ready for independent survival, needing no care from their mother. That means they are born knowing how to hunt for the free swimming bony fish that are their preferred prey.
Conveniently for the aquarium, grey reef sharks are native to our waters, so their habitat is all around the island, although they have their favorite areas like most other species. Releasing the pups is the standard choice of the aquarium, but they do sometimes raise them to adulthood to educate the public about the species.
The MOC has been so successful in keeping their sharks that they have seen many shark births at their facility since they opened their doors, such as whitetip reef sharks, sandbar sharks, grey reef sharks and blacktip reef sharks. In fact, we recently blogged about the blacktip pups that were added to the aquarium’s collection in July.
If you want to see sharks, the aquarium is the way to go. They are uncommon sightings if you’re joining us on our Molokini Snorkel Tour or our Lanai Snorkel Tour, a fact that most snorkelers appreciate. With us, you’re likely to see Hawaiian green sea turtles and a myriad of brightly colored fish. We hope you’ll join us soon! If you need assistance with your tour booking, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!