How many animals need to die prematurely before we stop putting them in tanks and cages? On Friday, January 7, 2016, the world’s only Great White Shark living in captivity died after just three days in a Japanese aquarium. The shark was accidentally caught in a fishing net and instead of returning the shark to the ocean where it belongs, he was given to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium instead.

Tanks are no place for any marine animal, but especially Great White Sharks as they need to constantly be swimming in order to maintain their body temperature. Being confined to a small tank doesn’t allow them to do this. On top of the shark’s physical needs, the mental impact of being stolen from the wild and then put in a small, isolated tank, is extremely traumatic for a shark, or any animal. After all, if you were kidnapped and put in a jail cell for people to stare at you, you might get anxious and depressed too!


Aquarium officials said that the shark refused to eat any food since capture. The shark got weak and eventually sank to the bottom of the tank. Efforts to give it oxygen in a separate special tank failed and the shark died.



“The cause of death is clear: captivity. The shark never had to die like this,” said Jason Baker, vice president of international campaigns for People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (Asia).


The only reason why this aquarium took the shark in the first place is because they wanted the animal to bring in more ticket sales. “Many visitors had asked us to exhibit the great white shark,” Aquarium researcher Keiichi Sato told the Independent.

If no one attended aquariums and marine parks, these facilities would not exist. You can help animals subjected to captivity by never purchasing a ticket and sharing this post to encourage others to do the same.

Lead image source: Albert kok/Wikimedia Commons