Shark Midwife Gives Toothy C-Section

shark c section

There’s another Octomom making headlines — but this time, she’s got serious teeth. Visitors to Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World aquarium in New Zealand got a shock when they saw one shark attack another — and baby sharks swimming out of the gash left in her side.The mother, a school shark, was brought to the aquarium after she was snared by fishermen, and aquarium staff had no idea she was pregnant, according to a press release issued by Underwater World.

When a broadnose sevengill shark took out some “normal seasonal aggression” on the expectant mother, it left a gouge big enough for the babies to swim free. Four tiny pups swam immediately out of the wound in their mom’s side. When staff treated the injured shark, they found four more babies alive inside.

“Ironically the fight their mother got into probably saved these pups’ lives! Had she given birth naturally, mostly likely at night, we probably wouldn’t have gotten to the pups in time to move them to a safe, predator-free area,” the aquarium’s curator, marine biologist Andrew Christie, said in a press release.

The eight shark pups were born prematurely, but amazingly, all survived the ordeal. They’ll live in the aquarium for six to eight weeks before being released into the wild.

School sharks, which live in temperate waters around the world, are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

“By keeping them in captivity for a couple of months we’re giving them the best start and the best chance of survivability,” Christie said in the press release. “Our hope is that these little guys will help make people feel warmer towards all sharks so they start understanding the importance of shark conservation and protecting them for future generations.”

We hope so, too.



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