New shark ray at Newport Aquarium dies

Courtesy Newport Aquarium Facebook page
Courtesy Newport Aquarium Facebook page

NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - The Newport Aquarium announced Tuesday on Facebook that its new shark ray has died.

"We are heartbroken to announce that our newest Shark Ray died Monday evening. She succumbed to bleeding from an internal wound received during an apparent mating attempt by one of the male Shark Rays. Despite extraordinary efforts by our veterinary staff and marine biologists, she did not survive," the statement read.

"They found her early Monday morning.  She was laying on her side, not a normal behavior for her at all," said Dan Hagley tells FOX19, area supervisor of fish and invertebrates at the Newport Aquarium.

Hagley says situations like this are not common.

"Breeding in sharks is fairly aggressive. The males grab hold of the females, push the females around.  It was definitely a very rare occurrence for something like this to happen," added Hagley.

The new shark ray joined the aquarium last week, joining Sweat Pea, Scooter, Spike and Sunshine in the 385,000-gallon shark tank.

According to the Aquarium, the new shark ray was born in the waters off Taiwan. She was more than seven feet long and weighed about 250 pounds.

"It's disheartening.  You do everything you can, and something like this that you can't prevent. You can't foresee.  It's just a rare occurrence.  It's just a sad day," said Hagley.

Hagley says there are some positives from this negative situation.  He says they'll continue their breeding efforts with the shark rays, and try to learn as much as they can about the animals from what happened.

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