Hammerhead shark dies at Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, cause of death still being investigated

Veterinarians are conducting tests, but said no wounds or infections were found

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 12:11am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 9:32am

Ocean Park veterinarians are conducting tests to find out what caused the death of a hammerhead shark in one of its tanks on Monday morning.

The theme park announced late on Monday night that the female scalloped hammerhead had died at about 9am.

It said initial findings from a necropsy did not suggest the animal had died of wounds or an infection, but would warrant further examination to find the exact cause of death.

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“Preliminary findings from the necropsy do not indicate any evidence of life-threatening wounds or an infectious agent, cultures are underway and the exact cause of death is pending further histopathology tests,” the statement read.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department was notified of the hammerhead shark’s death.

The death takes the number of hammerhead sharks at the Aberdeen theme park down to seven, from a high of 15 in 2010, when the animals were brought to the theme park from Japan.

One of them died in January 2011 due to an inability to adjust to the new environment in Ocean Park’s Grand Aquarium. In November 2013, six of them died within just seven hours of each other because of a malfunction in the park’s water-purifying equipment.

The latest death also comes just days after animal welfare activists from Empty the Tanks staged a protest at the newly-opened Ocean Park station, condemning the park for keeping animals in captivity for entertainment and breeding purposes.

Scalloped hammerhead sharks are an endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.