Modern technology has allowed a video of rare angel shark pups inside their pregnant mother, endoscopy footage has been released which gives an insight into inner workings of the creature. The sharks which were a threat in the wild, had in 2008 been given full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Birth to 19 pups
One such angel shark has given birth to 19 pups in a labour that went on for the best part of three weeks. The shark named Anne delivered one pup in the first week of labour, then four in the second week and then the remaining in the third week.
Anne the angel shark lives at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, Fife, has given zoologists a rare moment of satisfaction as their work in helping to increase the world’s population of angel shark is reaping the reward of much effort and dedication.
These sharks lived a pretty much undisturbed life until 1978, prior to which they were also not considered to be of commercial value. However, this changed in the late 70s when Michael Wagner, a fish processor in Santa Barbara, California, began promoting the sharks. At which point almost 310 metric tons were taken off California in 1984, the increased fishing of the sharks forced the numbers to fall, but this has all changed now that the shark and any fishing of it is regulated.
All the pups born in Fife have been doing well, this included one which was born prematurely, and the people who have a direct hand in looking after the animals have been excited that they were able to breed the species in captivity for the first time.
Grows slowly and matures when larger in size
It was five years ago the shark which is known to grow to around two metres in length was listed as being critically endangered, finding its way on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list for species within touching distance of being wiped out.
The problem with the shark is that they take a long time to mature and this means to increase numbers in the wild would require careful maintenance and monitoring. The angel shark will grow slowly and mature only when they have reached a large size, this means that since few of these sharks actually survive until they are large enough to breed numbers are low and the species is remains close to extinction.