Even under ideal circumstances, survival is no guarantee for newly hatched shark pups. But thanks to the helping hand of conservationists, several sharks that otherwise stood no chance at all are now swimming alive and free.
Over the weekend, marine biologists in Malta released three bottom-feeding Nursehound shark pups into the open waters of the Mediterranean -- a journey six months in the making. Last year, the animals, then just embryos, were rescued from pregnant dead sharks being sold at a wholesale fish market. The eggs were then sent to the Malta National Aquarium to be hatched and cared for through the most vulnerable early stages of their lives.
Aquarium curator Mike Hutchison tells Malta Today that the baby sharks, once destined to slowly perish on land, are now healthy and strong enough to fend for themselves at sea.
"Being top predators, the sharks are likely to survive in the wild," he says.