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Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium to Introduce New "Toothy" Sharks

Sand Tiger Sharks to Debut by Thanksgiving

Atlanta, GA (November 7, 2008) –

Georgia Aquarium is excited to announce the arrival of six new sand tiger sharks. The sharks are currently located at the Aquarium’s offsite quarantine facility and will be introduced into the Ocean Voyager gallery built by The Home Depot before Thanksgiving.

The three male and three female sharks will go into the 6.3 million gallon habitat alongside the whale sharks and manta ray. The new sharks range from five to more than eight feet in length and weigh between 56 to 237 pounds.

“These sharks are big and display a mouthful of sharp teeth, so we know that they will become a new guest favorite,” said Mike Leven, CEO of Georgia Aquarium. “Even though they are scary looking to some, we are excited to introduce them to our guests as the docile species they are, and spread the word on their declining numbers due to overfishing.”

The sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The sand tiger shark is caught for human consumption, as well as for fishmeal and liver oil, and the fins are used for leather production. The species has the lowest reproductive rate among sharks, giving birth every two years to one or two pups after a gestation period of 9 to 12 months.

According to an independent Harris Poll, 17% of men and 13% of women said that sharks were their favorite aquatic animal.  The Georgia Aquarium currently houses whale sharks, zebra sharks, black-tip reef sharks, tasseled wobbegongs, great hammerhead, bonnethead sharks, bamboo sharks, brown-banded bamboo sharks, white-spotted bamboo sharks, epaulette sharks, swell sharks, horn sharks and now sand tiger sharks.

The sand tiger sharks are a part of the Aquarium’s New Every Ninety Program, designed to bring a new animal, exhibit or program to the Aquarium every quarter.  In August, the Aquarium introduced the Titanic Aquatic exhibit, which has seen 50,000 visitors, as well as Nandi, the first manta ray in a U.S. Aquarium, to kick-off to the New Every Ninety Program.

Public Relations Contacts:
Meghann Gibbons                         Francesca Allegra                     Mackenzie Whalen
Director                                        Specialist                                  Coordinator
(404) 581-4109                           (404) 581-4391                        (404) 581-4230
mgibbons@georgiaaquarium.org   fallegra@georgiaaquarium.org    mwhalen@georgiaaquarium.org

About Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world’s largest with more than eight million gallons of water and the largest collection of aquatic animals. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards; offering engaging and exciting guest experiences promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. The Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.