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Great white shark goes on display

A great white shark caught in the waters off California is on display at an aquarium where it can be viewed in person or via a live webcam.

Marine scientists hope the new addition at Monterey Bay Aquarium will inspire visitors to support ocean conservation.

Aquarium chiefs say the 4ft 7in male shark was transferred from Malibu to Monterey and placed in the aquarium's Open Sea exhibit. They hope to keep it on display for the next several months.

It is the sixth time Monterey Bay has exhibited a young great white shark. All the previous sharks have been returned to the wild.

Aquarium officials say they caught this shark August 18 in the waters near Marina del Rey. Before its transfer, the shark was kept in a holding pen in Malibu, where it was observed swimming comfortably and eating.

Wild shark populations are in decline worldwide, says the aquarium. Fishing and the slow reproduction of white sharks, in addition to threats from trophy hunters and others, have taken a toll.

The creatures are protected in US coastal waters, as well as in South Africa, Mexico, Australia and other countries.

Great white sharks are known for their size, with the largest adults measuring more than 20ft long and weighing around 5,000lbs. They are among the primary predators of marine mammals but also prey on fish and seabirds.

Julie Packard, the aquarium's executive director, said the exhibit of a female white shark in 2004 was extremely successful.

She said more than a million people viewed the shark while it was in captivity. Surveys taken after their experience showed that people took away a deeper understanding of the dangers facing white sharks and the ocean in general.

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