While local sea enthusiast, Roy Neale, was fishing for tuna off Umhlanga Main Beach on Monday 22 August, he caught a 3-4 week old Tiger Shark and immediately thought that it would make a welcomed addition to the sharks housed in the Sea World aquarium at uShaka Marine World.
“I contacted my wife who confirmed the aquarium staff would welcome the beautiful young shark into their care and immediately started the 20 minute ride to uShaka with the Tiger in the live bait hold of my boat,” said Roy.
uShaka staff were waiting at Vetche's Pier to collect the tiny 60cm shark and carry it to the rehabilitation facility where awaiting veterinarian, Dr Francois Lampen, was on hand to administer veterinary assistance. Upon arrival he was given cortisone, vitamins, an antibiotic and supplementary oxygen.
Immediately named Titus, staff monitored the young shark very closely over the next 24 hours as it recovered. The following day it was introduced to Sea World’s Open Ocean Exhibit, which caused quite a stir, as the sting rays, pompano and kingfish curiously investigated the new arrival. However, upon realising his small size, the resident sea life felt little threat as they soon lost interest.
By Wednesday Titus had settled down, and much to the delight of Sea World staff, started swimming near the surface of the water at a measured pace, which is typical behaviour for Tiger Sharks.
Tiger Sharks are well known for their voracious appetites, and young Titus was no exception as he ate the two squid offered to him with great gusto, before calmly swimming off to continue exploring the exhibit.
“Our plan is to move him to the Reef Predator Exhibit which he will share with white tip reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, black tip reef sharks, zebra sharks, a nurse shark and other reef predators,” said Simon Chater, curator of the Sea World aquarium.
“This is the first time that we have housed such a young Tiger Shark at uShaka and I am delighted he has recovered so swiftly and I look forward to being able to showcase this much revered, strikingly beautiful shark to our visitors,” Simon concluded.