Great white shark goes on display at aquarium in California

Ruth Doherty
Great white shark goes on display at aquarium in California
Great white shark goes on display at aquarium in California

The young great white shark on display at Monterey Bay Aquarium, California. Photo: AP

Ever fancied getting up close and personal with a great white shark - but don't fancy one of those scary cage dives?

Well, don't worry, now you can say hello to its toothy grin at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

A great white caught in the waters off California is on display at the tourist hotspot, where it can be viewed in person or via a live webcam.

Marine scientists hope the new addition at Monterey Bay Aquarium will inspire visitors to support ocean conservation.

Aquarium chiefs say the 4ft 7in male shark was transferred from Malibu to Monterey and placed in the aquarium's Open Sea exhibit, where it will be available for meet and greets for the next few months.

It is the sixth time Monterey Bay has exhibited a young great white shark, and don't fear - all the previous sharks have been returned to the wild.

The aquarium says that fishing and the slow reproduction of white sharks, in addition to threats from trophy hunters and others, have taken a toll on their population.

The creatures are protected in US coastal waters, as well as in South Africa, Mexico, Australia and other countries.

Great white sharks are immense in size, with the largest adults measuring more than 20ft long and weighing around 5,000lbs. They are among the primary predators of marine mammals but also prey on fish and seabirds.

Julie Packard, the aquarium's executive director, said the exhibit of a female white shark in 2004 was extremely successful.

More than a million people viewed the shark while it was in captivity, and surveys taken after their experience showed that people took away a deeper understanding of the dangers facing white sharks and the ocean in general.

So, although it's in captivity for a while, the long-term benefits for sharks are huge and, in the meantime, the public can get to enjoy them, too.

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