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SEA LIFE Oberhausen Gains Award for Blacktip Reef Shark Breeding

SEA LIFE Oberhausen in Germany has today been recognised by Merlin and the global SEA LIFE group as their first Breeding Centre of Excellence.

The status has been awarded for their ongoing successful breeding and research work with the Blacktip reef shark, an animal which is known to be actively hunted in the wild and which is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ as ‘Near Threatened’ with its global population decreasing year-on-year. 

The SEA LIFE group has played a key role in the breeding of blacktip reef sharks, with marine biologists at SEA LIFE’s Conservation, Welfare and Engagement (CWE) team coordinating the European breeding programme since 2013. The breeding programme involves 63 zoos and aquariums across 17 countries with SEA LIFE leading the way in breeding the species.

SEA LIFE Oberhausen has seen particular success, with over 16 shark pups being born on site and sent to other SEA LIFE centres, as well as successfully rearing pups born at other SEA LIFE centres in their custom built shark nursery. The species is often difficult to breed.

The captive-bred sharks are able to be studied at close proximity unlike their wild counterparts, which has led to a series of husbandry advances and world-first scientific discoveries being made that contribute to the protection of shark species in the wild.

James Burleigh Head of SEA LIFE Conservation, Welfare and Engagement department commented: “Being able to transfer what we’ve learnt in aquariums to directly influence the protection of a species in the wild is the ‘Holy Grail’ of any breeding programme. It shows that breeding programmes and research in aquariums can, and do often, have long-term positive impacts in the conservation of threatened species.”

November 2018

SEA LIFE Oberhausen Breeding Centre of Excellence Award
Merlin's first Breeding Centre of Excellence
Merlin Entertainment