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A BIZARRE ‘pouting’ shark which is one of the most unusual-looking in the world has been christened ‘Angelina’ by staff at a sea life centre.
The two-metre bowmouth shark has a head shaped like a hover mower, and trout-like pouting lips that have prompted her keepers to christen her ‘Angelina’ after Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie.
The bowmouth will arrive at the National Sea Life Centre, in Birmingham, today/tomorrow (THURS).
Its arrival forms part of the attraction’s mission to highlight threats posed to shark species around the globe.
Curator Graham Burrows said: “Research shows many shark species could disappear from our seas within ten years without urgent conservation measures, so we have made it our mission to raise awareness about their plight.
“Many people still view sharks as terrifying man-hunters, when in fact only a handful of the 370-plus species are dangerous, and the attacks that do occur are generally cases of mistaken identity.”
The bowmouth – classed as ‘vulnerable’ and also known as the dinosaur shark – is certainly no danger to humans. It eats crustaceans, mollusks, and bony fishes.
“We’re hoping Angelina will help people to view sharks in a different light,” said Graham.
The Birmingham Sea Life centre is home to over nine different species of shark, including two endangered hammerheads, seven black-tipped reef sharks and a nurse shark.
Graham said: “We are working with the Shark Trust to create a showcase for the many shark research and conservation projects they help fund around the world.
“Visitors will not only see an impressive array of sharks first hand, they will be also learn about the efforts of dedicated marine experts to protect them in the wild.”
“Our goal is to persuade people that sharks are worthy of protection rather than persecution, and Angelina is an ideal recruit to the cause.”
It will take four people to stretcher Angelina from her transport tank into the centre and gently lower her into the water.
Bowmouth sharks are also known as ‘guitarfish’, because their wide body and tapered tail makes them look like a guitar when viewed from above.
They are usually found in waters of the Indo-Pacific region, but Angelina’s keepers are hoping she will take to captivity well.