Betty the bowmouth shark has made a welcome return to Blackpool Sea Life Centre after a failed breeding attempt at the Birmingham attraction.
Six foot long tropical shark Betty was carefully transported to Birmingham in January this year to launch Europe’s first bowmouth shark breeding programme with the help of male bowmouth, Boris.
But Betty’s ultrasound revealed she is yet to fall pregnant and marine experts believe the experiment was scuppered by the presence of two hammerhead sharks in the Birmingham tank.
A new plan has been hatched to return Betty back to Blackpool, possibly followed by Boris or another male shark at a later date in a second bid at a successful courtship.
Displays supervisor at Sea Life Centre Blackpool, Scott Blacker, said: “We are obviously disappointed the scan revealed Betty isn’t pregnant but it’s great news that the breeding programme will move up to Blackpool, where we hope the brand new ocean display will provide the perfect environment for successful breeding once a male bowmouth is chosen to join her here.”
Bowmouth sharks produce eggs which then hatch internally after 12 months, and can produce as many as six babies in a single litter.
Despite the lack of success so far, Blackpool staff are determined to persevere.
Scott added: “ Not only will a successful programme help generate stock for educational shark exhibits at other Sea Life Centres, a captive bred population may prove a vital lifeline in the future should the wild population fall to a dangerously low level.”