July 21, 2018
A Shark’s Curiosity is Key
- as seen by -Jasmine Crowell
The zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is not always what first comes to mind when one hears the word “shark.” But they are, in my experience, one of the more underestimated species.
Captain Spaulding (above) is a juvenile zebra shark in the New York Aquarium’s Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit and a great ambassador for his species. His appearance in particular is unique because he is leucistic. Leucism is a condition in which there is partial pigmentation loss of external features that does not affect the eyes. In Spaulding’s case, he has mostly white coloration with some darker spotting throughout his body. His easygoing demeanor and endless curiosity make him extremely charismatic and fun to work with.
When you walk through the Coral Tunnel in Ocean Wonders, on occasion you may see a big white stretcher that the sharks swim through. What you may not see is our shark team working with the sharks so that they become accustomed to our touch (inset). This helps us give them full body examinations, perform blood draws, and even ultrasounds to monitor their health. At the aquarium, not only are we passionate about animal care, we are passionate about our animals being active participants in their own care through voluntary training.
The work we do allows us to provide our animals with the very best care, so they can continue to inspire our guests to love, respect, and protect them as much as we do.
Come to the aquarium and see what our animals are learning.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch for more zookeeper stories on Wild View and activities at zoos and aquariums near you during National Zookeeper Week July 14-22 2018. Celebrate Shark Week by visiting our new exhibit Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, part of an exciting transformation at the New York Aquarium.