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Sunday, October 14, 2007
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great White Shark, California, U.S.A.
Image: courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium

Great White Shark

One of the exceptional things about the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located in Monterey, California in the United States, is that in addition to providing significant capability for visitors to observe marine wildlife and plants in the Aquarium exhibits, they also clearly care for these ocean plants, animals, and other organisms through the ocean foundation that they run.

The Aquarium is located in a fabulous part of Northern California on the Pacific Ocean coast and is about 200 km (125 miles) south of San Francisco. It is a unique place to visit in the world and shares this league with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, located in the Principality Of Monaco.

A new visitor, a Great White Shark, arrived in Monterey on August 28, 2007 and spent three weeks in a holding area under medical observation before being transferred to the huge Outer Bay exhibit. The exhibit allows visitors to view the shark up close through a glass wall and it holds approximately one million gallons of sea water. There are many other marine species, plants and other organisms that share the tank with the White Shark.

On arrival, the shark measured 4 foot 9 inches (approx 1.5 m). It had been accidentally caught in commercial fishing nets and was put under the care of veterinarian Dr. Mike Murray, who says "there are an awful lot of behavioural changes" to observe in the Great White Shark and also the ways in which it interrelates with other species. He says they are beginning to understand better what makes the White Shark so special.

Great White Sharks live in salt water throughout the world's oceans and seas, where the water temperature is between 12 and 24 degrees C, or 54 to 75 degrees F. They can dive to recorded depths of as much as 1280 metres (4,200 ft). The most concentrated population of Great White's is found off Dyer Island in South Africa (2 hours drive from Cape Town). They prefer to prey on large sea mammals like seals and whales, and also on penguins. It is believed they may be able to migrate distances as far as from South Africa to Australia, a distance of 20000 km (12400 miles). (source Wikipedia: "Great White Sharks").

This is the third White Shark that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has had under observation since 2004. The other two were released successfully to the ocean after 6.5 and 4.5 months under observation. The Aquarium has a tagging program to research and track the migration of the White Sharks as they move up and down California's Pacific coast.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium web site can be linked to from the theirEarth Environment category.

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