Mississippi Aquarium's Sand Tiger Shark Returns to the Main Campus After Successful Novel Surgery

For Immediate Release: March 4, 2021

Mississippi Aquarium's Sand Tiger Shark Returns to the Main Campus After Successful Novel Surgery

Gulfport, MS - Mississippi Aquarium announced today Stella, a sand tiger shark, returned to Aquatic Wonders on March 1, 2021. Stella has been recovering after a successful spinal surgery was performed at the end of September 2020. Stella underwent the novel surgery after being diagnosed with scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) and kyphosis (outward curvature of the spine). Mississippi Aquarium's Veterinary Team along with veterinary and human medicine colleagues came together to perform a 2-hour, first-of-its-kind spinal surgery on a shark.

Vice President of Veterinary Services, Alexa Delaune, DVM said, "I am delighted that our guests will be able to visit Stella in the Aquatic Wonders habitat at the Aquarium. Stella’s case has been the most challenging case of my veterinary career thus far. Our visitors will see that Stella has a permanent curve to her spine. This curvature will always be present because of the way her spine healed. Despite the curvature, she is swimming better than before her surgery and she is eating very well – she’s gained 8 lbs since her surgery. We learned valuable information performing the surgery. Should Stella or another shark need a similar surgery in the future, we now have much-needed insight on the procedure. The Mississippi Aquarium veterinary team, our veterinary colleagues and our human medical colleagues are extremely proud that we had the chance to help Stella and perform the very first spinal surgery on a shark." After the surgery, the Mississippi Aquarium Animal Care and Conservation Team worked around the clock observing Stella and caring for her. Over the past few months, the dedicated animal care staff has been involved in Stella’s physical therapy and preparing her for her return to the Aquatic Wonders habitat. She is currently navigating the habitat well. We are proud to lead the way in advancing science and veterinary medicine at Mississippi Aquarium. To learn more about Stella's surgery visit: Stella's Surgery


About Mississippi Aquarium

Mississippi Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is a premier institution delivering an awe-inspiring experience that supports animal research and conservation. Mississippi Aquarium is committed to animal welfare and the majesty of the gulf and beyond. The Aquarium sits on 5.8-acres and contains over 80,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibits connected by landscaped walkways with plants that represent all the physiographic regions of Mississippi. For more visit msaquarium.org


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