Behind The Scenes: Sharks at the Shedd Aquarium

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A big event is happening this week at the Shedd Aquarium. It's your chance to see some real shark pups.

ABC7's Meghan Kluth got a behind the scenes look at Sharks at the Shedd Aquarium.

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Whether they terrify or fascinate you, sharks are important to our oceans.

Twelve different species of sharks at the Shedd Aquarium and the wonderful creatures are widely misunderstood by the public. For example, the zebra shark which is actually as friendly as a pet dog...

"One of the reasons we call them the Labradors of the sea is because they are so easy to train and they're kind of like training the dog they're very food motivated," said Lise Watson, senior curator of the Wild Reef Habitat at the Shedd.

Lise and her staff train all of the sharks at the Shedd so that they can feed them accordingly. All of their food is restaurant grade. As you pause at the shark habitat, you might wonder how all those smaller schooling fishes survive among the big predators. It's because the sharks stay well fed.

"We try to match the diet closely to what these animals would eat in the wild it's the best thing for their health we also closely monitor their food intake," Watson said. "That's one of the reasons we train them so we can weigh out the food get them exactly what they need including vitamins and any care that they would need otherwise."

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Take a behind the scenes look at Sharks at the Shedd.

The Shedd is raising blacktip reef pups, or baby sharks. They were born last August and last December and being trained to swim with the bigger sharks. Breeding sharks is important because an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans in commercial fisheries every year.

"Shark population has dramatically declined over the past couple of decades and sharks are really vital to the health of our oceans, so it's really important that we're protecting them," Watson said.

Sharks are a crucial part to the ecosystem and all marine life depends on healthy oceans, including humans! The Shedd's mission is to inform people that sharks are not to be feared, and keeping our ocean trash free with harmful things like plastic, helps everyone.

WATCH LIVE: Shedd Aquarium Shark Cam

Click here for more information on the Shedd's shark conservation efforts.
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