Whale shark debuts at Japan aquarium as another goes free

 24 July 2011, Shark Year Magazine.

The information site Asahi Shimbun is reporting that a new whale shark made its debut at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan on July 23.

The female whale shark, named Yu-chan, was transported from Kochi Prefecture the day before.

According to the aquarium operator ‘Osaka Waterfront Development Co.’, it’s the first time in four years that they display a female whale shark at the aquarium in Minato Ward, Osaka.

Yu-chan measures 4.1 metres in length and weighs about 900 kg. She is estimated to be five or six years old. The shark was caught in a fishing net off the coast of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture on June 21. On July 22, Yu-chan was transferred on a stretcher from a tank to a container loaded on a 30-ton trailer-truck that brought her to the Osaka Aquarium. It was the first time for ‘Osaka Waterfront Development Co.’ to transport a whale shark overland.

On July 23, a male whale shark was removed from the same aquarium and transported to the Osaka Aquarium Biological Research Institute of Iburi Center in Tosashimizu, Kochi Prefecture .

Yu-chan’s male predecessor, called Kai-kun, will be released back into the ocean.

Kai-kun was displayed at the Osaka Aquarium for four years, after he was trapped in a fishing net off Cape Muroto in June 2007.

During the four years in captivity, the male whale shark grew from 4.1 metres to 5.5 metres long and his estimated weight increased from 900 kg to 1.500 kg. He became too big, so the aquarium operator decided to set Kai-kun free into the Pacific after conducting a health check at the research institute.

Source and Photo Credit: asahi.com


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