Of all the species of shark that occupy the oceans, perhaps none invokes more fear than the great white. Adding to the mythology of the shark, humans have literally proven unable to tame one, try as they might. This recent report from Vox elucidates why it’s so difficult to keep a great white alive in captivity, analyzing recent attempts by the Monterey Bay Aquarium to do so. Their program concluded in 2011.
The most recent effort to display a great white occurred at a Japanese aquarium in 2016. The shark died three days later.
Programs like these are not without criticism. Still, Jon Hoech, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s director of husbandry told Vox the now defunct program served an important purpose. “We believe strongly that putting people face to face with live animals like this is very significant in inspiring ocean conservation and connecting people to the ocean environment,” he said. “We feel like white sharks face significant threats out in the wild and our ability to bring awareness to that is significant in terms of encouraging people to become ocean stewards.”