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"Test tube" sharks born in Lisbon

"Test tube" sharks born in Lisbon
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Sharks often have a fearsome reputation, thanks to highly publicised but rare attacks – and of course, Hollywood. But these creatures are an essential part of the ocean and their populations are declining every year.

As part of an image revamp for this beautiful predator, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is putting on a sensory exhibition.

Robert Calcagno is the CEO of the Oceanographic Institute Foundatiion and told euronews just how close up and personal the exhibition was: “In the exhibition you are going to be able to see sharks, you will be able in fact to touch sharks, to caress, to cuddle them.”

Brave souls can slip a hand into the water to stroke a pyjama shark, leopard shark or starry smooth hound. The compliance of the sharks surprises many and helps them to overcome their -often lifelong – prejudices. It’s an often overlooked fact that hundreds of millions of these creatures are killed by man each year.

Over at Portugal’s Lisbon Oceanarium, two sharks have recently been born “in vitro”. The oceanarium has two males and two females that have lived together for thirteen years, but never reproduced despite the sharks reaching sexual maturity. So scientists decided to collect the eggs, for “in vitro” fertilisation and then monitored the development of the embryos.

Ana Jarego is a biologist at the oceanarium and described the process: “The eggs have this screw-like shape. What happens in the wild is that females drop the eggs and hide them amongst rocks. That does not happen here, as they don’t have many places to hide their eggs. They drop them, and we then pick them up.”

The two baby sharks are gaining in weight and size. All being well, they may later be introduced into the oceanarium’s larger aquarium to join their bigger fellow sharks.