Endangered Stingrays Born In Captivity For First Time In Europe
These images show rare endangered stingrays that have been born in captivity for the first time in Europe at Poland’s oldest zoo.
The round ribbontail ray (Taeniura meyeni) birth took place at Wroclaw Zoo in the city of Wroclaw in the Lower Silesian Voivodship in south-western Poland.
The zoo said: “So far, only one birth of this species in the world has been documented – in Australia. Now Zoo Wroclaw zoo boast of the offspring of round ribbontail rays. These are little-known and endangered stingrays that inhabit the Pacific Ocean.”
They added that zookeepers noticed a new baby ray in one of the tanks on 16th September. The zoo said: “The newborn was quickly identified as a round ribbontail ray, about 30 centimetres (11.8 inches) in diameter.
“It was easy to guess that if there is one, there are probably others as well, because there may be up to seven of them in a litter. A diver was sent into the Mozambique Channel tank that holds 3.5 million litres of seawater and found three more pups.”
Jakub Kordas, aquarium manager at the zoo, said: “When we caught the little rays and checked their condition, we were overjoyed. We waited six years for our rays to grow up and reproduce.”
The zoo said that they moved the baby rays to a smaller tank “to keep them safe” so that zookeepers can monitor them.
The zoo added: “The first two weeks are crucial. Today, after this period, we can already speak of success – the rays are doing well, they have adjusted their menu by rejecting shellfish in favour of herring and mackerel, and have even learned to express frustration by ‘blushing’ on the underside!
“They will be available for viewing when they grow larger and are independent enough to deal with neighbours such as other rays and sharks. Meanwhile, in the Mozambique Channel tank in the Afrykarium, you can admire the parents.”
In their statement, the zoo also said that round ribbontail rays can be found in the Pacific Ocean, from Africa to Japan, mainly in coastal waters and coral reefs, adding that an adult can reach a width of 3 metres (9.8 feet) and weigh up to 150 kilogrammes (330 lbs).
They said that it was particularly difficult to breed them in captivity due to the large size they grow to and their “nutritional requirements”.
The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species with the main threats to its existence being the fishing industry as it is often caught in nets intended to catch other species.