THE FIRST TROPICAL stingray to be born in Ireland has been born at National Sea Life in Bray, Co Wicklow.
The Atlantic Cownose Ray is listed as a near threatened species and could face extinction in the future.
As the species matures very late in life, and females only go through one gestation period a year, the new baby has led to great excitement, Sea Life said today.
The baby, which was born four weeks ago, has yet to be named, but is a healthy size of 30cm long. She is believed to be a female, but it is still a little early to tell for definite.
Pat Ó Súilleabháin, managing director of Sea Life, said the baby has settled in to her new home well:
She swims around with her Mum, Dad and her uncle and is very happy. She is also a curious little thing, and unusually for a ray so young, shows great interest in visitors, especially children. She comes right up to the edge of the tank to say hello.
The centre waited four weeks to announce the birth of the baby stingray as it wanted to ensure the infant was healthy and thriving.
Sea Life carefully orchestrated this breeding programme, taking in two pairs of male and female Cownose stingrays four years ago. Its stingrays have only just recently reached sexual maturity. Only one of these pairs have bred, but hopes are high that more baby rays will be born in the coming years.