Reintroduction of Our Amazing Sharks 

Staff Writer: Olivia O’Connor 

Shark populations have been declining over the years due to climate change, pollution, over-fishing, and habitat loss. Many countries don’t have laws that prohibit shark fishing and the mass collection of seafood. This causes populations to decline and eventually go extinct. 

However, many conservation organizations are putting all their effort into helping these endangered shark species make a comeback.  

ReShark is just one international project that consists of over 60 conservation organizations that are responsible for breeding and then releasing endangered shark and ray species into marine protected areas to help population numbers increase.  

The ReShark project has intertwined with the StAR project in focusing on the reintroduction of zebra sharks in Raja Ampat (West Papua province, Indonesia). The project involves multiple partners’ collaborations at the global and national magnitude to “ensure zebra shark species are recovered and protected for the long-term benefit of Indonesian people”, says 

Because aquariums can breed these species, they are critical to their recovery in the wild. Zebra sharks have been successfully bred and the eggs were taken to a nursery in Raja Ampat to begin the process of reintroduction into their natural habitat with the help of shark nannies and scientists.  

“Made up of 75 partners from 15 countries, 44 aquariums have bred these gentle predators from eggs to pups to juveniles.” says  

In January of 2023, ReShark released two very special zebra shark pups named Kathlyn and Charlie. These pups were the first to be released back into the warm water of Wayag Lagoon since the project started.  

Nesha Ichida, scientist of Thrive Conservation, releases a zebra shark pup named Kathlyn in the warm waters of the Wayag Lagoon. 20 minutes before Kathlyn’s release her brother Charlie was released in the same lagoon. Photo Credit: David Doubilet and Jennifer Hays, National Geographic 

“After a brief moment, relief and celebration blanketed the lagoon; the first flick of the tail in open waters proclaimed the rewilding of the sharks- the uncaging of the zebras”, says the ReShark Instagram page.  

In March of 2023, another zebra shark pup was released in the same waters. The pup, Audrey, needed a little bit more time to grow and once she was ready, she was released. The StAR and ReShark project team stayed with Audrey for almost 3 hours and witnessed the pup exploring her new and permanent habitat in the lagoon.  

The ReShark and StAR project organizations hope to release up to 500 of these important predators back into their home in Raja Ampat in Indonesia.  

A grown Zebra Shark swims in the open ocean protected by conservation scientists and conservation organizations. Photo Credit: 

It is important that we are aware of our environment and the effects we can have on it. As students we can do our part by recycling, conserving/reusing water, staying away from fertilizers and pesticides, and so much more.  

These are just the few organizations and projects dedicated to helping our world and working to create a better world for our future generations. Thank you.  

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