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Why don't great white sharks keep well in captivity?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Tatsuslava, 7 Sep 2017.

  1. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    So why don't white sharks keep well in captivity? They can't seem to last too long when put in aquariums yet even tiger sharks seem to do better and last more than a few month at least and can be kept for a relatively long basis.
     
  2. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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  3. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    But that doesn't explain why they don't keep well. Even though tiger sharks can be kept for a relatively long time in aquariums compared to white sharks
     
  4. pachyderm pro

    pachyderm pro Well-Known Member

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    As far as tiger sharks go, as far as I'm aware there is only one in captivity at the moment at an aquarium in Florida. Great Whites are also alot larger then tiger sharks. The video Batto linked explains it best.
     
  5. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    i seen the video but it doesn't explain what trait exactly that makes them so hard to contain. Also the white shark that died at the japanese aquarium was about 3.5 meters long, big but not exactly a giant. There were previously tiger sharks that were kept in aquariums that was kept a lot better than white sharks
     
  6. d1am0ndback

    d1am0ndback Well-Known Member

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    Tiger sharks are not pelagic like the great white, so there would be less health issues with a tiger being kept in a tank. And while tiger sharks eat A LOT it is not the same crazy diet of a large great white mentioned in that video. Also, that video summed up entirely why great whites do poorly in captivity, so I'm not sure what the trait is that you are looking for.

    And @pachyderm pro I am aware of aquariums in Hawaii with them, and in the video there is a large tiger sharks swimming with the large great white in the Japanese Aquarium.
     
  7. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like a lot of the same problems orcas do but times 100× and I was wondering why is that So?
     
  8. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    @Tatsuslava : 1. You're welcome. 2. For future reference: the Search option allows you to find previous threads on relevant topics to prevent duplications. 3. If you take another look at the video, you might notice that it's not a single "trait" influencing the husbandry of GWSs, but multiple factors. 4. You're welcome.
     
  9. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member

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    Great White Sharks do keep well, in a sense. Only a handful were ever tried. Of these, Monterey Bay Aquarium successfully adapted the last of three juveniles to the tank and kept it healthy for months when it grew. Unfortunately is started eating other sharks, forced the aquarium to choose between one Great White or the rest of animals in the tank, and was released back to the wild.
     
  10. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    It seems that they have similar factors like killer whales but worse I am curious why that is worse
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    what are these "similar factors like killer whales"? You said it earlier in the thread as well. What does it mean?
     
  12. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    like the fact there is not enough space in the tanks that hold them, isn't that one of the issues people have with orca captivity?
     
  13. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    you're confusing "why an animal doesn't do well in captivity" with "why people have issues with an animal being in captivity". They are two completely different things.

    Killer whales survive perfectly well in captivity - they can be transported easily and safely, they adapt easily to being in pools with walls and barriers, they live a long time, they breed. The issue around killer whales is purely an ethical one - some people think they shouldn't be in captivity (the tanks being too small is one of their reasons from an ethical or moral stand-point). Whether they should be in captivity has nothing to do with whether they can be kept in captivity.

    The video linked earlier explains the reasons why great whites have been so unsuccessful as captive animals, one of the primary ones being that they are pelagic sharks which do not adapt well to being surrounded by walls. None of the reasons outlined in the video relate to killer whales at all.
     
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  14. temp

    temp Well-Known Member

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    3.5 m. is young adult. Totally different than the juveniles kept at Monterey that all were in the ~1.5 m range. As has been mentioned before, there really are three major issues in keeping great whites:

    1 They don't transport well. If you want a realistic chance, you need an aquarium located near where the great white shark is caught. For simple logistic reasons, transporting a big shark (huge circular transport tank) is much harder than transporting a small shark (small circular transport tank). This really isn't all that different from other shark species where max transport size typically is 1.5-2 m, with preferred size <1.5 m. There are plenty of places where great whites may be seen near the coast, but only a very small number of places where small ones regularly are seen. Incidentally, California is one of these places, giving Monterey a natural avantage. Furthermore, sharks caught by accident in fishing gear, like the recent great white in Japan, stand very little chance in an aquarium. Standard fishing gear invariable causes injuries, fishermen usually don't know how to handle big sharks that are supposed to stay alive, transport to the aquarium may be less than optimum, and the receiving aquarium will usually not have had much time for preparations before getting the shark. That being said; if anyone actually could have kept the 3.5 m great white received under those circumstances alive it would probably have been Okinawa, as they have more experiance with large elasmobranchs than pretty much everyone else (multi-generation breeding of bull, first captive breeding of sicklefin lemon, first captive birth of tiger, longest keeping of whale sharks, only to breed manta ray, etc).
    2. Great whites have issues with barriers and tend to scrape, eventually developing wounds and getting infections. This is pretty much the same as other pelagic sharks, e.g. blue and mako.
    3. If they survive the initial phase, they become hyper-predatory and will literally eat any other animal in the tank. Despite their small size, some of Monterey's great whites had started showing an "interest" in other species in the tank and those are all quite large species. The 1968 Manly Marineland great white even started showing predatory tendencies towards divers in the tank and it was only 2.3 m long! If someone managed to keep an adult great white, they'd have a huge tank with only one inhabitant, except perhaps for a few fish so small (30 cm or less) that the great white would ignore them. Contrary to some suggestions, it really shouldn't be much of a problem to feed an adult large great white. Sure they eat sea mammals, but repeated studies have shown that they feed on pretty much every medium to large sized animal (mammals, fish, birds, sea turtles) and are not at all selective. Indeed, overall large fish (e.g., tuna) may be more important to most populations than sea mammals, and carcasses play a major role in their diet too.

    Tiger sharks have proven much less problematic than great whites and typically survive years in captivity. I believe the current record was a female at Veracruz that was released due to size after almost 8 years in the aquarium. Remarkably, tigers tend to be bit skittish in aquariums, contradicting their "eats everything" reputation. Although there are few kept, there are a few more than the ones already mentioned in this thread. That includes at least the female and her young at Okinawa. I think (not completely sure) that Veracruz still has tiger, too. Remarkably, both the Okinawa and Veracruz predatory shark tanks are relatively small compared to the largest ocean tanks (just below 1 million l, each), but they've both been custom made for sharks (e.g., rounded corners).
     
    Last edited: 9 Sep 2017
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  15. Tatsuslava

    Tatsuslava Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the very detailed answers know I know why white sharks don't keep well know any aquariums were I could see tiger sharks? Any idea of their size?
     
  16. Batto

    Batto Well-Known Member

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    which, among others, were also addressed in said video.

    temp and others also mentioned which institutions keep tiger sharks.