Our expert animal team cares for several shark species, from the great hammerhead and tiger sharks, to the largest in the sea - whale sharks (yes, they are a part of the shark family). Some of these species are apex predators essential to our ocean’s ecosystem. Unfortunately, humans are the number one threat to their populations.
Great hammerheads, zebra sharks, sand tigers and whale sharks are all endangered shark species that can be found in our care. An adult great hammerhead shark has no natural predators except humans. Both zebra sharks and whale sharks, considered harmless to humans, have dwindling populations due to the pollution of their habitats and destructive fishing practices.
An important step in helping endangered shark species is spreading awareness to practice sustainability, while also educating others on the misconception that sharks are highly dangerous to humans, when in fact, humans are the real threat to sharks.
The Aquarium is also home to some rather unique shark species such as the epaulette, swell shark and even wobbegongs. Each of these species have some incredible adaptations; the epaulette can survive for several hours with little to no oxygen, while the swell shark has the ability to “swell” to twice its normal size to appear larger to predators. While these species don’t have the more well-recognized shark features, they still play a key part in the ocean’s ecosystem.
Our research teams are passionate about being advocates for these species. They work diligently both at the Aquarium and out in the field, to increase our knowledge and understanding of these species. These animals face the impacts from poor human practices as well as other natural threats. As they continue to decline, the balance of our ocean’s ecosystem is affected. By caring for these animals every day, our teams can observe their patterns and behaviors to uncover vital information that is then used to improve conservation practices.
Learn more about these incredible animals and the work Georgia Aquarium is doing to aid in their survival during #SharkWeek and on our website.