Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary celebrates birth of first-ever southern stingrays
- Credit: Archant
A stingray at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary has given birth to quadruplets.
The young are the first of their kind to be born at the coastal attraction in its 28-year-history.
Their mother, who is nicknamed Stella, arrived at the seafront sanctuary in 2014.
The staff noticed she had been getting bigger in recent weeks and were very hopeful, anticipating the new arrivals.
Stella's secret was revealed to the public when aquarium visitors spotted four little stingrays swimming around in the depths of the sanctuary's 187,500 litre ocean tank.
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Natalie Emmerson, the lead aquarist at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, said: 'We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw them - we have never had baby southern stingrays born at Hunstanton Sea Life before – we've been looking forward to these for some time now.
'The first we knew of the baby stingrays was when a group of visitors spotted the four little babies swimming around the ocean tank.
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'Unlike our native rays, which lay eggs, southern stingrays give birth to live young which are usually left to fend for themselves in the wild, so the little ones were already exploring the ocean tank when they were spotted.'
The babies were gently removed from the ocean tank and are now safely inside their own tank on display, where they are already becoming a firm favourite with visitors.
Here staff will keep a close eye on them until they are big enough to return to the ocean tank.
They hope these births are some of the first in a hopeful long line up of future babies as the sanctuary recovers from the flood of 2013.
Tanks were damaged and marine creatures of all shapes and sizes had to be evacuated when a storm surge topped the sea wall and poured into the building.