On 29 March 2023, the Two Oceans Aquarium successfully released Dané, a female ragged-tooth shark, off Struisbaai Main Beach. She was accompanied at every stage of her journey by six Aquarium Curatorial staff members to ensure a calm and safe return to her wild home.
Dané was collected off Seavale near East London in 2017 with the assistance of local angler Mike Dedericks. Given the honour of naming her, a common practice for the anglers who assist in the collection of these beautiful ragged-tooth sharks, Mike quickly decided on his wife’s name: Dané. The Save Our Seas Shark Foundation has been home to Dané for six amazing years. We've loved having her, but we are thrilled to have released her back into the big blue!
Leading up to her release, Dané was carefully placed in a secure tank on a large truck for transport by road to Struisbaai. “All precautions were taken through careful medical monitoring along the way. On arrival, final bloods and vitals were taken, and then she was lifted from the holding tank and carried by the team down to the water’s edge,” said Dr Ilse Jenkinson, the Two Oceans Aquarium vet.
There was much excitement among the Struisbaai community that gathered to watch Dané’s return to the open ocean, where they learned about the Aquarium's shark conservation efforts. Once formalities were complete, the Two Oceans Aquarium Curatorial team walked Dané in her stretcher into the ocean and stood with her for 10 minutes while she acclimatised. Taking their cue from Dané as she pushed against the constraints of the stretcher, the team released her, with two divers keeping a watchful eye to monitor her initial open ocean behaviour.
“Today, we had the privilege of returning one of our largest ragged-tooth sharks to the big blue. Dané spent five years with us. During her time at the Aquarium, she was a true ambassador for her species and educated thousands of visitors, highlighting the importance sharks play in the marine environment.” - Curator Paul van Nimwegen
Like other sharks released by the Aquarium, Dané has been tagged so that her movements can be tracked as she moves along the coast. This allows us to gather scientific information about the sharks and also helps raise awareness about their plight in an ocean under threat of human impact. Dané was tagged with a spaghetti tag, which displays a tag number and the address of the organisation that fitted the tag.
Let's all wish Dané a massive farewell as she embarks on her exciting journey outside of the Two Oceans Aquarium, and into the big blue ocean!