Shark born by artificial insemination is a first for Australia

shark born by artificial insemination
A brownbanded bamboo shark was the first shark born by artificial insemination. Photo from Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium Facebook page

The Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium made history with Australia's first shark born by artificial insemination, a groundbreaking step toward understanding the reproductive behaviors of sharks endemic to Australia and implementing a breeding program to help threatened species.

The brownbanded bamboo shark pup also became the world's first shark born via live semen sample transported from one facility to another.

"A labor of love for the past nine years, we're extremely proud and excited to see our hard work paying off with the birth of this brownbanded bamboo shark pup," Dr. Jon Daly of the aquarium said.

shark born by artificial insemination
A brownbanded bamboo shark born by artificial insemination; photo is a screen grab from Australia’s “The Age” video

"It was a gallant team effort across the Sea Life attractions, from the divers who collected the sharks, to those involved with the insemination."

According to the AFP, the process began in September when aquarists collected a semen sample from a shark in Mooloolaba in northeastern Australia and flew it to Melbourne, where it was inseminated into the mother the same day.

The mother laid several eggs in November but only one was deemed viable to survive ,and it was monitored weekly during a 112-day incubation period until it hatched on March 3.

The aquarium announced the birth of the 6.3-inch pup Wednesday.

The ultimate hope is to manage threatened shark species in the wild, particularly the critically endangered grey nurse shark, of which the brownbanded bamboo shark is a surrogate species that is easier to work with.

"With each insemination attempt, we continue to learn about the reproductive behaviors of Australian shark species," Dr. Daly said. "Hopefully we can use this technology as a basis for breeding grey nurse sharks in captivity and, in years to come, boost the species' dwindling numbers in the wild."

Here’s a video report about the shark from “The Age of Australia“:

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