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Ocean Park Announces Loss of Six Hammerhead Sharks

2013-11-03

Ocean Park is saddened to announce the loss of six hammerhead sharks today. The six sharks, all females and weighing 45 - 60 kg, were found swimming abnormally starting this morning. They were moved to the back-of-house area for treatment and close observation, and have subsequently passed away.

Shark   Sex              Weight (kg)    Time of Death
1          Female          54                  10:45 a.m.
2          Female          45                  1:00 p.m.
3          Female          58                  1:30 p.m.
4          Female          59                  4:15 p.m.
5          Female          60                  4:35 p.m.
6          Female          55                  5:55 p.m.

'We are experiencing a rapid morbidity with high mortality of the hammerhead sharks, which has caused the death of six sharks in a short period of time. As the remaining 8 hammerhead sharks that are alive are also at risk, our veterinarians and animal keepers continue to closely monitor their conditions, and will segregate them and administer treatment if the need arises. We are now performing necropsies to better understand the cause of death. All other marine species inside the tank are behaving normally, and are monitored closely for any changes,” said Ocean Park’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Paolo Martelli.

In late 2010, 15 hammerhead sharks from a Japanese fishery were introduced to the Grand Aquarium, and 14 have doubled their weight and grown healthy over past 3 years, as evidenced by their fast swimming and their streamlined appearance. Only one hammerhead shark was lost due to an inability to adjust to its new environment when it was initially moved into the Grand Aquarium in January 2011.

Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “We are extremely saddened at the loss of the six sharks. We are completely committed to determining the cause of the situation, from reviewing water quality to potential disease outbreak affecting hammerhead sharks, and are doing our best to ensure the health of the remaining hammerhead sharks and other marine species.”

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department was notified of the incident immediately.