Press Release


Shark Ray Pups at Newport Aquarium To Make Public Debut

Aquarium Makes Historic Announcement: Public invited to view pups beginning Friday, June 24

June 8, 2016 - NEWPORT, Ky. - Today, in honor of World Oceans Day, Newport Aquarium announced that the rare shark rays born earlier this year are ready to make their public debut. This will be the first time the five month old shark ray pups have been on exhibit. The public is invited to see them in the aquarium’s 55,000 gallon Coral Reef tunnel exhibit beginning Friday, June 24.

Since being born on January 5, the shark ray pups have received care from Newport Aquarium biologists, who have closely monitored them and attended to every need. See and download video of the shark ray pups being weighed, measured and fed in this link to Dropbox.

“It’s getting more and more difficult for shark rays to survive in their natural environment,” said Ric Urban, Chief Conservation Officer at Newport Aquarium. “Without the work Newport Aquarium is doing, long-term survival of this species wouldn’t be possible.”

Programs like Newport Aquarium’s Shark Ray Breeding Program are important, because the world’s shark ray population is depleting at a faster rate than it is being replaced. This is due to habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing and the use of their fins for products like fin soup.

Aquarium biologists will determine the exact number of pups that will go into the Coral Reef tunnel exhibit as June 24 draws nearer.

Shark Ray Breeding Program Background

In October 2015, Newport Aquarium announced both its female shark rays, Sweet Pea and Sunshine were pregnant– the second and third documented cases of shark ray breeding under professional animal care in the world. Sweet Pea became the first documented shark ray to become pregnant in 2013. In January 2016, Sweet Pea gave birth to 9 shark ray pups. Five survived, which is not uncommon with similar species, like sharks.  Sunshine’s pregnancy did not come to full term.

World Oceans Day

Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans. Learn more about World Oceans Day here.

$5 Kid Saver Special

Families can make a splash this summer with Newport Aquarium's Kid Saver Special. Now through June 30th, up to two kids get in for $5 each with every adult paying full price, Sunday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. for tickets purchased at only.