Tiger shark's arrival turns heads in the Open Ocean exhibit

While fishing from his ski boat last week for tuna off Umhlanga Rocks, Roy Neale caught a three-to-four-week-old tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) and immediately thought it would make a welcome addition to the sharks housed in the Aquarium at uShaka Marine World.

Tiger shark Titus explores his new environment

“I contacted my wife, who confirmed that the Aquarium staff would welcome the beautiful young shark into their care and immediately started the 20-minute ride back to Durban with the tiger in the live-bait hold of my boat,” said Neale.

uShaka staff were waiting at Vetch’s Pier to collect the tiny 60cm shark and carry it to the rehabilitation facility where veterinarian Dr Francois Lampen was on hand to give veterinary assistance. Upon arrival the shark was given cortisone, vitamins, an antibiotic and supplementary oxygen.

Staff monitored the young shark, which they named Titus, closely over the next 24 hours as it recovered from its ordeal. The following day it was introduced to the Open Ocean exhibit, which caused quite a stir among resident rays, pompano and kingfish that curiously investigated the new arrival.

Realising that at only 60cm he posed little threat to them, they soon lost interest. What they don't know is that adult tiger sharks can reach 5.5 metres in length! 

Aquarist Rob Kyle and Aquarium curator Simon Chater move the tiger shark from the transport tank to the Open Ocean exhibit

Within a few days Titus had settled down and, much to the delight of Aquarium staff, started swimming near the surface of the water at a measured pace, which is typical behaviour for tiger sharks. 

Tiger sharks are well known for their voracious appetites and this young shark is no exception. His first meal at the Aquariam were two squid, which he ate with great gusto before calmly swimming off to continue exploring the exhibit.

Titus may only be 60cm long, but he's impressive nevertheless

Simon Chater, curator of the Aquarium, said, “Our plan is to move him to the Reef Predator exhibit, which he will share with whitetip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, blacktip reef sharks, zebra sharks and a nurse shark, as well as other reef predators.

“This is the first time that we have housed such a young tiger shark at uShaka Sea World and therefore I am delighted he has recovered so swiftly and look forward to being able to showcase this much-revered, strikingly beautiful shark to our visitors.”

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