As reported on www.telegraph.co.uk
More than ten percent of the sharks in Dubai Aquarium’s 10 million-litre aquarium have been killed in attacks that have marred the build-up to its grand opening on Oct 30.
Sand Tiger sharks have killed at least 40 smaller reef sharks and been aggressive towards divers working on final preparations in the giant tank.
The aquarium features the world’s single largest school of sharks and the world’s largest viewing platform. It is the centrepiece of the new 12 million sq ft Burj Dubai Mall.
Built to showcase one of the world’s most diverse and exotic collections of marine animals, the aquarium is home to more than 33,000 living specimens.
A total of 85 species is represented, with over 400 sharks and rays considered the main attraction.
But the concentration of such a large number of sharks in a relatively small space has led to what some might have considered predictable problems for the Dubai Mall’s management.
General manager Yousuf Al Ali admitted the world’s most feared ocean predator had caused teething problems.
“It is inevitable that aquatic species die – sometimes out of natural causes or out of injuries inflicted by bigger fish species,” he said.
“Sand Tiger sharks, by nature, are fish-eating. However, all sharks and other animals in the Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre at The Dubai Mall are currently on a monitored feeding schedule in order to subdue their naturally opportunistic behaviour and appetite.”
Meanwhile divers carrying out tasks in the tank have also been attacked by the naturally aggressive sharks.
Several have had their equipment damaged and experienced minor injuries due to the behaviour of the sharks, according to UAE daily Khaleej Times.
Mr Ali said: “During the stages of setting up the aquarium, two cases of minor injuries were reported and were immediately attended to by the on-site medical team.”
The aquarium features a 270-degree acrylic walkthrough tunnel designed to give shoppers close encounters with some of the most diverse marine life on the planet.
At this rate they might get ringside seats at the world’s greatest shark fight.
The mall which will have more than 1,200 shops will house the world’s largest gold market (Souk) with 220 retail stores and will be adjacent to a 12-hectare artificial lake.
There will also be two major department stores, 150 food and drink outlets and a 440,000 square ft fashion island.
The centre sits alongside the world’s tallest building — Burj Dubai which is 626 metres high.
Dubai Ice Rink, the world’s largest indoor Gold Souk and The Grove, the region’s first indoor-outdoor streetscape with a retractable roof.