Let’s call it summer camp--for baby Jaws.
The waters just off the shore of Long Island’s Great South Bay have revealed a nursery where young sand tiger sharks swim up from the south and bask in New York waters each summer.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), young sharks in this particular location first piqued their interest in 2011. After learning that the sharks have been spotted and caught for years by the local boaters and anglers, the organization began tracking sharks; it has been catching and releasing them ever since.
The shark nursery provides juvenile sand tiger sharks up to five years of age with a place to feed and grow while protecting them from predators, according to the WCS. Sand tiger sharks are classified as globally “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Populations in parts of Australia and Argentina are classified as “Critically Endangered.”
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WCS also said that further research needs to be done because scientists are not sure how much of the bay is used by the sharks, they don’t know the number of young sharks in the bay each summer, and they don’t know what the sharks are eating. In addition, WCS is conducting outreach to the public to help improve the conservation status of sand tiger and other local sharks and rays.
In a press release, Jon Dohlin, Vice President and Director of WCS’s New York Aquarium, said “We hope to raise awareness about our local marine environment and the need to manage our natural wonders.”