3-Minute Interview: Christina Slager

The new husbandry director of the Aquarium of the Bay specializes in sharks and penguins and is spearheading a shark-tagging project in San Francisco Bay.

What is the shark-tagging project? It’s a very exciting project that’s going to provide interesting information about shark patterns in the San Francisco Bay. We’re going to put sunlight tags on sevengill sharks and monitor where they go and what they do.

What other programs will be coming to the aquarium this year? We’re focusing on the angel shark and its reproductive habits. The aquarium is the first to exhibit this shark and the first to have a live birth in captivity. The one born in captivity will go on exhibit this fall. It’s six months old and is very adorable.

You seem to really like sharks, while others are terrified of them. It’s such a misconception — we’re much more dangerous to sharks than they are to us. The majority of sharks are harmless and docile.

How did you organize the evacuation of animals from New Orleans’s aquarium after Hurricane Katrina? When I reached the cell phone of the director, they’d lost most of their fishes, and penguins and otters might have been next. I suggested, “What if we get them to Monterey Bay Aquarium?” So began a long, complicated saga. But they lost almost all their collection — it was a terrible tragedy.

Aquatic animals aren’t as interactive as some others — any advice on how to connect with them? The more you know about fish and invertebrates, the more fascinating they are. That’s why the aquarium lets people get up close and personal with the animals.

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com

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