Wednesday, May 12, 2010
She was the Aquarium's foster shark - known simply as Number 5, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's fifth juvenile white shark to visit the Outer Bay's 1-million-gallon tank.
Aquarium staff took the shark in last August, after Aquarium staff collected her off the coast of Malibu. She was released two and a half months later into southern Monterey Bay, outfitted with a tag to track her location, as part of the Aquarium's 8-year-old White Shark Project.
And in early March, she was caught in a gill net off Baja California and died, the Aquarium announced May 11.
The news underscores the Aquarium's new "Must Love Sharks" campaign. Manny Escurra, the Aquarium's associate curator of sharks and rays, explains succinctly why we should care about sharks, rather than thinking of them as the swimmer's terror in Jaws:
"Sharks help balance ocean ecosystems, which we depend upon for our food and our livelihoods. Simply put, sharks help keep the oceans healthy, and that's critical for a healthy and prosperous planet.
"Beyond these practical reasons, sharks have inspired us and captured our imaginations since the dawn of humanity. Sharks swam the oceans before dinosaurs walked the land, and they've survived and thrived—until now.
"Today, most of the world's sharks are in serious peril. Overfishing, habitat destruction, and other human activities including shark finning are decimating shark populations around the world."
The campaign invites shark-lovers to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, to listen to a podcast about the critical predators, and to make a donation to help support shark conservation.