Death Of Endangered Whale Shark At Aquarium Ignites Debate About Animals In Captivity
Staff at the Georgia Aquarium in the United States have been mourning the death of their beloved whale shark called Trixie.
The animal facility says the humungous endangered animal died as a result of having ‘difficulty navigating the habitat’.
The aquarium wrote on Facebook: “She was having difficulty navigating the habitat earlier in the day and then her health rapidly declined. Even after exhaustive veterinary and animal care efforts, she ultimately passed away.”
She had been a massive attraction at the aquarium since her arrival in 2006.
“Loss is inevitable, but that does not make it any less painful. We are so proud to have been stewards of her care for 15 years. We will miss you, Trixie,” the facility added.
The news update was posted on Facebook, where people have collectively mourned the loss of such a large and beautiful creature.
However, the death has also ignited a massive debate about whether aquariums are equipped to house such a big animal.
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One person wrote: “Do me a favour and consider never trying to keep an animal like this again. We have no physical way of recreating the environment they thrive in and have absolutely no business attempting to care for them in an effort to increase profit. You’re literally torturing these animals to death putting them in this captivity.”
Another added: “I agree with zoos and aquariums for education purposes/conservation but, you shouldn’t keep whale sharks in the same way you shouldn’t keep whales or any other creature that is too big/too complicated to give a good quality of life too.”
A third said: “I am deeply disheartened to hear this news… and am an enthusiastic believer in the positive aspects of public aquaria but is keeping the worlds largest fish in an aquarium – even such a well managed one – an ethically acceptable choice?”
Despite the backlash, there were plenty of people who praised the aquarium for housing Trixie and other animals because it can help spread information.
Whale sharks can live up to 100 years in the wild and are currently listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Georgia
Aquarium didn’t disclose how old Trixie was when she died.