S.E.A. Aquarium successfully breeds shark ray pup, a vulnerable species

S.E.A. Aquarium has successfully bred a shark ray pup.
S.E.A. Aquarium has successfully bred a shark ray pup.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - An aquarium in Singapore has for the first time successfully bred a shark ray pup, a vulnerable species known for their high mortality rates.

Visitors to the S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa can view the six-month-old shark ray pup, the only one of eight pups born last November that survived longer than three months.

It is one of the few aquariums in the world to breed and raise a shark ray, which gets its name from its ray-like broad front section, with dual dorsal fins on its back that resembles a shark.

Little research has been done on the biology or population status of this species, which is found in the Indo-Pacific region. The aquarium has 11 adult shark rays.

The pup is one of over 500 babies, from close to 10 species, born or hatched between October 2015 and April 2016 at the aquarium and Dolphin Island in RWS.

Among them are other threatened species such as the black-blotched stingrays - large stingrays found in the waters of the Indo-West Pacific that face the threat of unregulated fishing - and the endangered Banggai cardinalfish, a strikingly coloured fish found only in Indonesia's Banggai Islands.

Over at Dolphin Island, a female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin named Kundali was born on Jan 31 this year, the fourth dolphin calf bred at RWS.

The calf is currently residing in a private pool with its mother for nursing and observations as part of essential mother-offspring bonding, said RWS.

As part of Mother's Day celebrations, the attractions are offering special one-day family packages. From May 7 to Aug 31, tickets to the S.E.A. Aquarium for two adults and one child will cost $64, instead of the the usual price of $86. Tickets to Adventure Cove Waterpark, where Dolphin Island is located, will cost $78 for two adults and one child, instead of $98. The promotion is valid for online bookings made in Singapore only.