Take a virtual dive with the Shedd Aquarium to get up close look of sharks

Shark Week 2020 kicks off August 9
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Shark Week kicks off at the Shedd Aquarium Sunday.

In celebration of the apex predator, animal-enthusiasts of all ages can take a virtual dive underwater and come face-to-face with sharks from the comfort of your own home through the aquarium's "Stay Home With Shedd" series.

The footage was collected in the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas during a research expedition. Shedd scientists are studying the population in the Bahamas, which are protected by law within the waters of the island nation after the establishment of the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary in 2011.

Although Shedd's 2020 shark research expedition was postponed due to COVID-19 safety concerns, these videos provide a way for Shedd to continue to learn about sharks from Chicago, the facility says. Reserachers say sharks have survived five mass extinction events over the past 450 million years, causing many shark populations across the globe to decline. Overfishing has also been a primary offender in the global population decline, leaving one-quarter of all elasmorbranch species -- which include sharks, rays and skates -- threatened with extinction, they added.

The experience provides a diver's eye view into the world of sharks in the region and showcases species of all shapes and sizes, including Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks and hammerhead sharks swimming through their natural habitats and exploring the aquarium's research equipment.

The videos are their way of providing more learning on the apex predator in the midst of the pandemic, Shedd officials say.

For more information about the sharks at Shedd and Shedd's shark research, visit www.sheddaquarium.org/keepsharksswimming.
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