- Published on Sunday, 10 June 2012 00:06
- Written by Super User
A young whitespotted bamboo shark at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Soon the shark will swim with other bamboo sharks in a new interactive exhibit opening this summer.
It won't be long until visitors to the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher hear, "Go ahead, touch the shark." Some may balk at the suggestion to willingly extend their hands in a shark-filled pool. Yet, Aquarium staff designed a unique and safe animal interaction in a new Bamboo Shark exhibit, currently under construction.
The touch pool features two species of baby bamboo sharks, whitespotted (Chiloscyllium plagiosum ) and brownbanded (Chiloscyllium punctatum), and a low-profile design to make it easily accessible to small children. The exhibit will open this summer.
"The new Bamboo Shark exhibit will offer our guests an incredible experience," said Hap Fatzinger, husbandry curator. "Our hope is that by touching one of these amazing animals people will consider sharks less fearsome and take the time to understand their importance in the balance of the world's oceans."
Additionally, the exhibit offers visitors a bigger picture of shark populations and diversity world-wide, Fatzinger said. Whitespotted and brownbanded bamboo sharks are considered harmless to humans and are listed as "Near Threatened" on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List. Both species are native to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean region. They differ vastly from the three North Carolina native shark species currently on exhibit at the Aquarium: the bonnethead, the sand tiger and the sandbar.