Ariel the Shark's Doing Swimmingly
LEGOLAND Windsor's Blacktip Reef Shark growing well at SEA LIFE
Last December, LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort was excited to welcome a new little arrival, Ariel, Britain’s first successfully bred and reared Blacktip Reef Shark. Ariel was born in Atlantis Submarine Voyage, the tropical SEA LIFE aquarium at the Resort.
Matt Wildsmith, Senior Aquarist, said: ‘We found her on a dive whilst maintaining the tank. We had suspected her mother Susan was pregnant as she had put on a lot of weight over the last year, but wasn’t showing any behavioural changes, so we couldn’t be 100% sure.’
The birth of Ariel was part of a wider SEA LIFE Breed, Rescue, Protect campaign which monitors 199 Blacktip Reef Sharks across 42 European aquariums. SEA LIFE are working to build a strong, genetically healthy population both for aquariums but also for any future reintroduction programmes to replenish wild stocks.
The knowledge gained from breeding these animals is helping conservationists understand how best to protect Blacktip Reef Shark’s in the wild. The research produced by SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue, Protect initiative helped lead to the EU ban on shark finning in 2003.
At her new home in Blackpool SEA LIFE centre, Tony Marks, Operations Manager said: ‘Ariel is doing really well. She is comfortable and happy in her surroundings and is taking food really well. She is becoming increasingly confident.
Scott Blacker, Displays Curator added: ‘Ariel is very funny, she gets a bit startled when big groups of fish swim towards her but then she starts to chase them around.’
The LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is continuing conservation efforts through ongoing projects to breed more Blacktip Reef Shark pups along with Zebra Sharks and Honeycomb Stingrays.
To celebrate Shark week, guests to the Resort will have the opportunity to visit the Atlantis Submarine Voyage aquarium to see video footage of Ariel and interact with highly trained staff as they deliver talks and answer questions on their Breed, Rescue, Protect programme at the touch pools, exclusively from 23rd-29th July.