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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Whale Sharks Atlanta, GA, Wednesday, 31 October 2012 5:45am

I spent a good chunk of the day looking at whale sharks. They're the biggest fish in the world (though many kinds of whales are much larger), and the Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the US that has them on display. The enclosure they're in is huge, and contains lots of other sharks and relatives like rays (including manta rays!) and guitarfish. One of the neat things about a clear enclosure is that you can see a large fish swimming straight towards the glass* and be sure that it's about to do an aquabatic maneuver to avoid hitting it.

I was wearing five layers on both my torso and my legs today. It was cold enough that I stopped at an REI between Athens and Atlanta and picked up a neckwarmer, some glove liners, and some chemical handwarmer packs. It hasn't been cold enough to need them yet, but better to be on the safe side.

I'm planning on spending a couple days in the Atlanta area, staying with Scruff and Shell, more of Bo & Heidi's friends.

* actually acrylic, not glass.

Comments

g-na (Anonymously) Thursday, 01 November 2012 3:56pm

We went to the Georgia Aquarium a few years ago. We were flying through Atlanta and thought it would be fun to see whale sharks up close (this was before we swum with hundreds of them in Mexico). It was quite sad to see these large, pelagic creatures (as well as the mantas, hammerheads, and cetaceans) in such a relatively small enclosure. I've since found out that the captive whale sharks regularly die and are simply replaced. I wish they would instead set them free to live out their days in the wild.

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aneel Friday, 02 November 2012 12:49am

Do you have a source for that "regularly"? The sources I've found indicate that there have been six total whale sharks have been at the Georgia Aquarium, two of which died in 2007. The whale sharks were taken out of Taiwan's fishing quota so they would have been killed for meat if they hadn't been captured for an aquarium. In 2008, Taiwan reduced its fishing quota for whale sharks to zero, so to replace them would require a new source.

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g-na (Anonymously) Saturday, 03 November 2012 3:12pm

The demise of captive whales sharks is something that I see reported in various conservation updates. I posted that from memory so I may have conflated different aquariums, sorry about that. I do remember someone (I can't remember whom) telling me that Georgia goes through sharks, but I can't find anything to back that up.

I have since found these: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/us/29shark.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/9491380/South-Korean-aquarium-apologises-for-captive-whale-shark-death.html So while the sharks may not die "regularly" in Georgia, captive sharks in general seem to not last long.

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