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ANIMALS

VIDEO: Rare shark born in French aquarium

VIDEO: Staff at the Océanopolis acquarium in the north-western French city of Brest have released rare footage (see below) of a zebra shark being born. It’s the first time the phenomenon has been captured on camera.

VIDEO: Rare shark born in French aquarium
Screengrab: YouTube

For the first time, the birth of a zebra shark, a rare tropical species native to the Indo-Pacific region, has been captured on film (see video). 

Trainers at the Océanopolis aquarium in Brest had spent 20 days waiting for the "exceptional moment", according to a statement released by the aquarium. 

The zebra shark, which is now on display at the aquarium, is one of three recently born at the aquarium, with the first arriving on June 10th, the second on July 30th and the latest on August 3rd. Two eggs have yet to hatch.

The rare footage will also feature in a documentary called ‘Sharks: in pursuit of received ideas’, coproduced by a dozen French aquariums. It will then be presented at an oceanography film festival on October 20th until November 1st.

According to the aquarium’s website, the zebra shark can measure over three metres long. While they are not an endangered species, they are a vulnerable species due to over-fishing and their fins are sometimes sold on the Asian market. 

The following is a video of  the historic moment from iTele.

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TOURISM

France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July

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