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New Addition to Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibition

Shark Alley was proudly opened by the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) – the latest addition to the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit at the Aquarium.

Shark Alley curves around the outer walls of the Shark Exhibit and complements the viewing of live sharks with informative signage and interactive exhibits that convey fascinating shark facts. The interactive exhibits provide hands-on learning experiences, encouraging visitors of all ages to delve into various aspects of shark biology and conservation. At the same time, seeing live sharks inspires awe and admiration for these animals that have inhabited our planet’s oceans for the past 400 million years.

Shark Alley, Save Our SeasThe natural flow of the exhibit takes visitors on a journey that starts with an introduction to various shark species, with depictions of their true sizes, along with biological and conservation facts. From there, the exhibit details specific biological aspects of sharks, with information about their senses, fins, teeth, respiration, reproduction and much more. Shark Alley dives deeply into sharks’ incredible adaptations for survival, highlighting how specialised and effective they are, as well as how they have put sharks in direct competition with, and at the mercy of, humans.

‘Through millions of years of evolution, sharks have adapted and continue to adapt to their ocean habitat. Some of the survival strategies they have developed are exactly what makes them vulnerable to exploitation by the most efficient and dangerous predator of all – humans. We cannot continue to overexploit, outwit and misunderstand sharks. If they are to survive globally, they need our support and love,’ says the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Communications & Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart, who helped to create Shark Alley.

Why is it important to think differently about sharks?

As predators, sharks play a pivotal role in maintaining many healthy marine ecosystems. The removal of sharks from theShark Alley ocean can have unpredictable knock-on effects on the overall balance of marine ecosystems and may drive them closer to collapse. A collapse of this magnitude could result in the loss of essential food resources, job opportunities and biodiversity and will ultimately impact negatively on the ocean’s ability to function as a life support system for the planet. By protecting and respecting sharks and educating people about their plight, we can ensure that the marine ecosystem as a whole is afforded greater protection and respect, which in turn has positive outcomes for humans.

It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed annually and some species have declined by 90% in recent years. Sharks are targeted for their meat, fins, skin, teeth and cartilage in commercial fishing operations, and are also caught as bycatch.

Shark Alley not only focuses on the importance of sharks and how humans are exploiting the various species, it also highlights what we as humans can learn from sharks. From imitating the amazing adaptation of shark scales (denticles) to employing this unique design to anti-bacterial surfaces in hospitals, there are so many things that sharks can teach us.

‘It was natural for the Save Our Seas Foundation to partner with the Two Oceans Aquarium on this shark exhibit, as we are passionate about the power of communication to connect with and engage the public to transform our relationship with sharks and the oceans,’ says CEO of the SOSF, James Lea. With the goal of protecting and caring for the world’s oceans, the philanthropic organisation supports research, education and conservation projects worldwide, primarily those involving species of endangered sharks, rays and skates.

Branching out to South Africa, the SOSF opened its Shark Education Centre in Kalk Bay in 2008. Perched on the wave-swept shore of False Bay, the education centre connects the public to the ocean by providing interactive experiences of local marine ecosystems and all you ever wanted to know about sharks. Its director, Clova Mabin, states, ‘I believe that this new Shark Alley exhibit will play a similar role to the work we do at the SOSF-SEC and will ultimately encourage Aquarium visitors to develop a love for these charismatic animals. Given the synergies between our organisations, I was very honoured to be asked to contribute to the development of Shark Alley and it is great to see it come to fruition and open for everyone to enjoy and learn from.’

The messaging conveyed by Shark Alley is simple: by ignoring the plight of sharks, we are setting ourselves up for the collapse of the marine ecosystems that are our life support system. It is imperative that we act before it is too late, not only for the sake of the sharks, but for our own survival too.

The Two Oceans Aquarium and the Shark Education Centre in Kalk Bay are featured on the newly released Cape Town Green Map – Coastal Cape Town

WHAT:  Shark Alley
WHERE: Two Oceans Aquarium, Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002
WHEN: Weekdays 09h30 – 18h00 Weekends and public holidays 09h00 – 18h00
INFO: T 021 418 3823 | Visit 
PHOTO: Dr Clova Mabin (Director of the SOSF Shark Education Centre) and Michael Farquhar (CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium) officially open Shark Alley.

ABOUT THE SAVE OUR SEAS FOUNDATION
Founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003, the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) is a philanthropic organisation that aims to protect and care for the world’s oceans. Its support for research, conservation and education projects worldwide focuses primarily on endangered species of sharks, rays and skates. Three permanent SOSF research and education centres reinforce its action in South Africa, Seychelles and the USA.

Over the past 18 years, the SOSF has supported almost 400 projects in more than 80 countries, passionately upholding its founder’s pledge to protect the populations of sharks, rays and skates whose presence is essential to the health and biological diversity of our seas.

Shark Alley was opened by the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) – adding to Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit

Shark Alley, Two Oceans Aquarium, Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), MapMyWay, Cape Town Green Map, Shark Education Centre, Coastal Map,