Our team of zookeepers and biologists at Burgers' Ocean captured an adult eagle ray Wednesday morning, 15 September 2021, and put it on transport to France. The female weighs over 65 kilos and has a wingspan of 1.80 metres. The animal will be given contraceptives in Boulogne-sur-Mer, as she gave birth to no less than 17 offspring in Arnhem.
With the counter now at 71 pups, We are by far the most successful breeder of spotted eagle rays in the world. It is precisely this success that makes it important to keep the pedigree of this species up to date. These charismatic cartilaginous fish have an aquarium of 1.6 million litres of water at their disposal in the Arnhem Ocean. Catching and transporting an adult eagle ray of over 65 kilos requires a tightly directed and carefully prepared operation, in which each team member has been assigned a task.
Four years ago, a contraceptive injection was previously administered to an eagle ray, which with 21 young was in danger of becoming overrepresented in the European population. To date, this female has stopped reproducing. This pioneering work in Arnhem has led to more contraceptive injections being used on cartilaginous fish in other public aquaria that breed too successfully. The eagle ray leaving for France will receive the same hormone treatment in Boulogne-sur-Mer to stop breeding.
The eagle ray travels by truck from Burgers' Zoo to the public aquarium Nausicaá in the French city Boulogne-sur-Mer. The animal is transported in a large, round 11,000 litres transport tank equipped with all the necessary equipment. Throughout the journey, the transporters constantly measure the oxygen level in the water, the temperature, and other important factors that influence animal welfare. Thanks to the size of the round transport tank, the animal can calmly swim around during the entire journey. Over the past decades, we have gained a lot of experience with such transports due to their numerous donations to colleague aquaria.