Monday, November 22, 2010

80-year-old shark sent to breeding program

Check out this cool 80 year old shark entering a breeding program! The reporter

After about 19 years at the park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's only sawfish, which is believed to be about 80 years old, has been shipped to New Orleans for a breeding program, officials said.

Buzz's species is believed to have a life span of more than 200 years, "so he's not the old man we thought he was," park Animal Care Director Michael Muraco said.

Buzz lived among five or six shark species at the park's Shark Experience until late Friday when he headed for his new home, Curator of Fish John Shultz said.

"We all feel this is good for Buzz and good for the species, which is endangered," Shultz said.

Muraco said the process that led to Buzz's departure started during a regular "blue sky" meeting where ideas are discussed.

"This led to a conversation with the Autobahn Aquarium in New Orleans, and they mentioned there are only a handful of these animals left in United States and that they're at risk in the wild and they asked how we'd feel about a cooperative breeding program," Muraco said.

This left park officials with "a moral dilemma," he said.

Discovery Kingdom lacks the space for a breeding program for animals as large as this, so if Buzz were going to be involved, he'd have to go there, Muraco said.

"As much as we loved having Buzz here, we did the right thing," and sent him there, he said.

Buzz was caught by two fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico in 1968, park spokeswoman Nancy Chan said.


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