The best way to protect animals is to protect their habitat, which is why habitat restoration is ine of our key focuses as a charity. However, slow breeding, long living animals such as sharks and rays (elasmobranchs) can also benefit from more hands on support.
Over the years, we have been part of various global breeding programmes, and due to our talented team, have able to receive a wide variety of Ocean animals from other aquarium collections. Our current species protection programmes focus on elasmobranchs.
We are involved in the species management programmes of the following animals:
Ocellated eagle ray (Aetobatus ocellatus)
We have worked closely with Burger Zoo in the Netherlands to establish our breeding group, which has consistently produced pups since 2016. Some of our offspring have been sent to Oceanopolis and Nausica. We were the first and only aquarium in UK to breed this species, and only the second in Europe.
Cownose rays (Rhinoptera sp.)
Working with aquariums such as Oceanopolis, Rotterdam Zoo and Sealife London we have created a group of predominantly captive bred cownose rays.
Bluespot ribbontail rays (Taeniura lymma)
This species has been consistently breeding since 2018 and we have worked with Living Coasts and Burger Zoo to ensure we have a genetically diverse group of individuals. We are now ready to distribute offspring to other aquariums in the UK and Europe.
Sandtiger shark (Carcharias Taurus)
We currently house the only captive bred Sand Tiger sharks in the northern hemisphere. Bred at Ushaka Marine World in South Africa, we are hoping for further success with this species.
Undulate skate (Raja undulata)
We are also part of a Europe-wide breeding programme for this endangered species. We created a breeding pair with stock from London Sealife and have since distributed offspring to various UK aquariums.
Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
Working with the Burj al Arab aquarium in Dubai, we have two very rare parthenogenetic females who will hopefully become part of a future breeding programme.
We also contribute data to the species management programmes of the common stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca), Blue spot masked ray (Neotrygon kuhlii) and the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum).
How does this help the Ocean?
Our charity’s mission is to connect people with the Ocean, so we can inspire pro-Ocean behaviour. Connecting with Ocean animals at our centre of Ocean excellence can often act as the catalyst for long-term behaviour change . Additionally, breeding these species in aquaria supports wild populations via reintroduction programmes and the eventual eradication of wild caught individuals at aquaria around the world.
How you can help?
If you’re ever in Devon, UK, why not visit our Aquarium in Plymouth and see these stunning animals up close? Or, to help us continue our world class animal care and breeding programmes, you can donate to our charity below.