Marine Evening - Two Oceans Aquarium: Returning the Raggies
July 26, 2016 Brenda du Toit
Who hasn’t marvelled at the beautiful ragged tooth sharks cruising around the display at the Two Oceans Aquarium? Thousands of children are enthralled by them – and probably the first shark they have ever seen up close.
Deen Hill from the Two Oceans Aquarium was the most recent guest speaker at the regular marine evenings held by the Marine Dynamics group of companies at the Great White House. Deen has a solid aquatic upbringing in the nature loving community of Noordhoek, bordered by mountains and the Atlantic Ocean - Deen is as comfortable in the ocean as he is on land. Choosing his career path, it was a natural progression for him to carry his aquatic skills learned through surfing and spear fishing to the professional world with the ultimate goal of staying as close to the sea as possible. After graduating from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, he landed his dream job as collections Officer at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Facts about ragged tooth sharks:
Deen has been involved in all aspects of capture and release of this iconic species that does well in captivity. These locally abundant juvenile ragged-tooth sharks act as ambassadors for their species as the Two Oceans Aquarium only displays them for a short period of time before returning them to the wild. They are usually captured when they are 50-80cm and once they reach a certain size they are released at Buffels Bay (close to the Knysna/Plettenberg Bay area), where other ragged-tooth sharks of a similar age are found. All the sharks are tagged prior to their release and this data supports scientists in understanding their movements along the South African coastline. Studies have shown that they adopt the same migration patterns as sharks that have not been in captivity. The status of the South African ragged-tooth shark population is currently listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Marine Dynamics has enjoyed a partnership with the aquarium for many years and Wilfred closed the meeting with special thanks to Two Oceans Aquarium for their generous R100 000 donation to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary last year.
Next month’s marine evening will be on the turtle conservation at the aquarium. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list.