Finally some good news for embattled sharks. The Two Oceans Aquarium has expanded their world-class facility with an interactive ‘Shark Alley’ exhibition space that will hopefully bolster efforts to conserve fast-disappearing shark species.

The Aquarium’s Shark exhibit is already hugely popular with visitors, who get to see live sharks in close proximity. The new ‘Alley’ adds a further dimension in the form of wide-ranging shark information displayed along the outer walls of the exhibition space which is a collaboration between the Aquarium and the Save Our Seas Foundation.  “The interactive exhibits provide hands-on learning experiences, encouraging visitors of all ages to delve into various aspects of shark biology and conservation,” the Aquarium and SOSF said in a joint launch statement. “At the same time, seeing live sharks inspires awe and admiration for these animals that have inhabited our planet’s oceans for the past 400 million years.”

The exhibition incorporates a broad range of shark information, from depictions of their true sizes to useful biological and conservation facts. Visual aids offer insights into key areas of interest including shark senses, fins, teeth, respiration and reproduction. Two key exhibit themes are shark survival adaptations, and how some of these have led to competition with humans. ‘Through millions of years of evolution, sharks have adapted and continue to adapt to their ocean habitat,” commented Two Oceans Aquarium’s Communications & Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart, who helped to create Shark Alley. “Some of the survival strategies they have developed are exactly what makes them vulnerable to exploitation by the most efficient and dangerous predator of all – humans. We cannot continue to overexploit, outwit and misunderstand sharks. If they are to survive globally, they need our support and love,’ Lockhart said.

It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed annually and some species have declined by 90% in recent years. Sharks are targeted for their meat, fins, skin, teeth and cartilage in commercial fishing operations, and are also caught as by-catch.

SOSF director Clova Mabin said: ‘I believe that this new Shark Alley exhibit will play a similar role to the work we do at the SOSF-SEC and will ultimately encourage Aquarium visitors to develop a love for these charismatic animals. Given the synergies between our organisations, I was very honoured to be asked to contribute to the development of Shark Alley and it is great to see it come to fruition and open for everyone to enjoy and learn from.”

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