Veterinarians at SeaWorld Orlando have successfully performed the first-ever shark C-Section, the theme park announced yesterday. The three-pound whitetip reef pups are the latest additions to the 30 sharks at Discovery Cove, the pricey sister park of SeaWorld that allows patrons to cuddle with bottleneck dolphins while Instagramming a variety of other aquatic creatures.
Although the surgery occurred on July 18th, theme park officials decided to hold off until now to make sure the shark pups didn't die and bum everyone out. (Or else that's just what they told Riptide, and they really wanted to coincide with #SharkWeek, the longest-running cable television event in history.) The programming marathon has the same life-giving properties as a Caesarian, as its given baby boomers and other people who can afford cable a reason to breathe since 1987.
As for the sharks, they are eating small pieces of fish and acting normally, said Denise Swider, who assisted Drs. Scott Gearhart and Lara Croft.
The surgery was performed in a blow-up kiddy pool right next to the mother shark's tank, which allowed the surgeons to go underwater and remain mobile. Anesthesia was pumped into the water, and oxygen was pumped across the animal's gills for ventilation. As the pups came out, Discovery Cove staff put them right into adjacent holding pens.
"The shark wasn't exactly feeling hungry right after the surgery, but we always separate the pups from the mother right after birth to make sure there's absolutely no problem," Swider said.
Surgeries have been performed on sharks, and C-Sections have been performed on stingrays, but this specific surgery has never been performed on a shark, so far as Discovery Cove's scientists can tell.
Although Shark Week is just an excuse to gawk at carnage because "nature," white tip reef sharks are on the benign end of the spectrum. Sorry to disappoint.
"They've very curious sharks, but generally harmless," Swider said. "Still, you have to respect any shark as a shark."
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