Two sand tiger sharks die at Virginia Aquarium

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Virginia Beach, Va. – The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center reports that two of their five sand tiger sharks died during the month of December.

On December 10th, a 20+ year-old sand tiger shark named “Double Notch,” was euthanized after her swimming behavior alerted staff that she was ill.

Dr. Bob George, the Aquarium’s senior veterinarian, determined that her condition could not have been prevented or reversed and that her quality of life would not improve without additional treatment or care.  A necropsy revealed that she was anemic with a bacterial infection in her ovaries — a condition that is not unusual in sand tiger populations of breeding or extended age. Double Notch weighed 296 pounds and was nearly 9 feet long.

On December 24th, Aquarium staff discovered another 20+ year-old sand tiger shark named “Mystic” on the bottom of the Norfolk Canyon Aquarium. Mystic was a little over 8 feet long and weighed about 275 pounds.

Results from her necropsy are not yet available but it is expected that she died due to complications from advanced age.

Mystic came to the Aquarium in 1999 while Double Notch had been at the Aquarium since 1995. Both sharks resided in the Norfolk Canyon Aquarium.

At this time, the Aquarium has three other sand tiger sharks “Ranger,” “Large Male” and “Single Notch.”



  • Teresa Wagner

    If I was a tiger shark, I would rather be dead than have been stolen from my ocean home and forced to live in a tank merely to be gawked at by humans everyday. May they rest in peace. May the scientists of this institution learn to research sharks in the wild, not in forced captivity.

  • Brigit

    I have direct knowledge of the personnel and the manner in which these aquatic animals are kept and maintained. Based on that, it’s miraculous that the entire animal collection isn’t sick or dead. In fact, you’d be horrified to learn of the numerous examples of animals meeting their demise in this facility, which management has “swept under the rug.” The fishes department is a hostile work environment, and turnover is extremely high so it’s difficult to obtain quality employees. Unqualified employees lead to dead animals.

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