NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - In honor of World Oceans Day Wednesday, Newport Aquarium announced that the rare shark rays born earlier this year are ready to make their public debut.
This will be the first time the 5-month-old shark ray pups have been on exhibit.
The public is invited to see them in the aquarium's 55,000 gallon Coral Reef tunnel exhibit beginning June 24.
Since being born on January 5, the shark ray pups have received care from Newport Aquarium biologists, who have closely monitored them and attended to every need.
"It's getting more and more difficult for shark rays to survive in their natural environment," said Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium.
"Without the work Newport Aquarium is doing, long-term survival of this species wouldn't be possible."
Programs like Newport Aquarium's Shark Ray Breeding Program are important, he said. The world's shark ray population is depleting at a faster rate than it is being replaced due to habitat destruction, pollution, over-fishing and the use of their fins for products like fin soup.
Aquarium biologists will determine the exact number of pups that will go into the Coral Reef tunnel exhibit as June 24 draws nearer.