Sharks in transit

Imperial goes extra mile for 'raggie'

Imperial goes extra mile for 'raggie'.
Rag 8 small.jpg

When female ragged-tooth shark Kay was released back into the ocean off Gordon’s Bay – after a four-year sojourn at the Two Oceans Aquarium – Imperial Truck Rental was proud to play a role in her heartwarming homecoming.

The Imperial Logistics group company rented an 8-ton crane truck to the Aquarium, for the release of Kay, along with a male shark that had been displayed in the marine exhibit at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria since 2011.

“Transporting sharks is not something we are called upon to do every day, but Imperial Truck Rental is delighted to have had the opportunity to play a part in the Two Oceans Aquarium’s shark conservation programme – and, of course, to help get Kay and her companion home safely,” concludes Imperial Truck Rental managing director, Johnny Wright.

“Both sharks were pit tagged with VERBAC tags before going on display and were also tagged with acoustic VEMCO tags (active for 10 years) before their release, so that their movements can be monitored should they pass one of the many receiver base stations positioned along the South African coast”, explains the Aquarium’s operations manager, Tinus Beukes.

The sharks’ release forms part of an ongoing release programme which was initiated by the Two Oceans Aquarium in 2004, with the release of 'raggie' Maxine.

Eight sharks have subsequently been released from the Two Oceans Aquarium since 2004.

When Kay was collected at Hamburg, East London, she measured 149cm in length (notch length) and weighed 51.4kg.

When she left the I&J Predator Exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium to return to the ocean, she weighed 207.2kg and was 277 cm in length.

Ragged-tooth sharks attain a maximum total length of about 3.2m and a maximum age of about 30 years.

They go through about 30 000 teeth in a lifetime.

Known as ‘grey nurse’ sharks in Australia and ‘sand tigers’ in America, 'raggies' occur in the Atlantic, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.

Their numbers have been seriously depleted in Australia due to over-fishing.  

“As far as we know, South Africa has one of the healthiest populations of ragged-tooth sharks in the world and these sharks are quite common along the entire sub-tropical east and south Cape coasts,” Beukes said.

“However, while these sharks occur in positive numbers, they require protection and effective conservation management,” he concluded.

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