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Larry is a happy fish

Shark that moved from a Burbank pet store to an aquarium in La Jolla has survived the stressful trip.

August 29, 2009|By Joyce Rudolph

Larry the shark has survived the move.

The nurse shark went from a Burbank pet store to the Birch Aquarium, a public aquarium and museum, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, which is part of UC San Diego.

The nurse shark was moved from Millenium Pets to the aquarium on July 7 after a six-month campaign conducted by Burbank animal rights activist Stephanie Field who made many calls to find a new home for him.

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Following a monthlong quarantine, Larry settled in quite well, said Nigella Hillgarth, executive director of the aquarium.

“He’s doing great,” she said. “He seems to be enjoying the new tank. We were so pleased to be able to help. It’s always a pleasure to see an animal living under more natural conditions.”

For now, Larry is in a display tank for sharks similar in size to his 3-foot-long stature, but nurse sharks can grow to 10 feet in size, officials said.

“Our tank is only big enough for Larry while he is still young,” Hillgarth said. “Eventually, he will have to move again. We know it will take a few years to find him another home, but he’s got a few years before that will be necessary.”

Larry’s guardian angel, Field, took her 5-year-old daughter, Lucy, to see him on July 26.

“I was really excited to see him again and see him swimming,” Stephanie Field said. “I’d never seen him properly swimming. To see him stretch out and move was glorious. He came right up for a petting.”

Stephanie Field watched her daughter Lucy feed Larry squid, she said.

“It’s his favorite thing,” she said.

They will be returning to the aquarium soon to see him again, Stephanie Field said.

“The process has been a great learning experience for her daughter who just started kindergarten, she said.

“It’s a hands-on adventure for her,” she said. “She walks up to people and says ‘I know a shark. His name is Larry.’ I’m teaching her about many different kinds of sharks, and that leads to whales. What a learning tool.”

Stephanie Field believes that she’s teaching her daughter about compassion and perseverance, she said.

“It’s shown her a great deal about compassion . . . and how a lot of people were so happy to help,” she said.

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