Charlotte the Stingray

Is Charlotte The Stingray's Health In Danger? Experts Weigh In!

Home / Entertainment / Is Charlotte The Stingray's Health In Danger? Experts Weigh In!

By Melanie VanDerveer on June 6, 2024 at 12:45 PM EDT

Now that the news is out that Charlotte the stingray is not pregnant, experts are weighing in with their concern for her overall health. And to make the concern more apparent, the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO in Hendersonville, NC is temporarily closed.

After announcing that Charlotte the stingray is not pregnant, but instead is suffering from a reproductive disease, experts and fans alike are concerned for Charlotte's health.

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Is Charlotte's Life In Danger?

Charlotte the stingray
TikTok | Team ECCO

There's been tons of speculation about Charlotte not actually being pregnant for months, and now that it's been confirmed that the baby watch is over, many are chiming in with their thoughts. One person who shared his thoughts is Larry Boles, the director of the Aquarium Science Program at Oregon Coast Community College who believes something grim about the beloved stingray.

"She needed veterinary care a long time ago. The lack of care means she's at a much higher risk of not surviving this," Boles said, according to WLOS13. "We have been getting pictures and videos almost daily when the place is open. As you probably know, they're banning video from visitors now."

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Boles was skeptical of Charlotte's pregnancy from the get-go. When Brenda Ramer, the curator and educator of the Aquarium and Shark Lab by Team ECCO, issued a press release announcing that the stingray was possibly impregnated by a shark, Boles, along with other marine experts, tried to debunk the news but the story quickly spread like wildfire.

"The idea a shark could be a parent was biologically ridiculous," said Boles. "She [Ramer] started with the miscommunication about the shark being the father. Our interest from the beginning was the miseducation of the public, as this story evolved and Team ECCO's story evolved multiple times."

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Team ECCO Announced That Charlotte The Stingray Has A Reproductive Disease

Charlotte the stingray
TikTok | Team ECCO

Last week, Ramer confirmed that the stingray gaining tons of national attention for impregnating herself was in fact not pregnant. While she said that Charlotte is suffering from a reproductive disease, she never elaborated on any specific details.

Boles told WLOS13 that reproductive cysts are common in stingrays and had Charlotte been diagnosed months ago, she could have been helped.

"It's important for everyone to know that in February, Brenda received an email from me and other professionals saying sharks are not the fathers, please stop saying that," Boles said. "And two, your animal most likely has reproductive disease, and this animal needs veterinary care right away."

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Team ECCO Announced That Charlotte 'Is No Longer Pregnant' On Social Media

On Tuesday, Team ECCO finally admitted that Charlotte is not pregnant in a social media post. While they did reveal that she has a reproductive disease a week prior to this announcement, they never came right out and said that Charlotte was not pregnant until this week.

"We regret the delay of updates regarding Charlotte. This time was necessary to gather data and analyze lab and testing results. These reports were shared with our care team," they wrote in an Instagram caption last week.

"The reports show that Charlotte has developed a rare reproductive disease that has negatively impacted her reproductive system. The findings are truly a sad and unexpected medical development."

Team ECCO has turned off the ability for followers to comment on any of their recent social media posts.

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The Aquarium And Shark Lab By Team ECCO Is Currently Closed

Charlotte the stingray
Team ECCO - TikTok

A message on the aquarium's website reveals that they are currently closed to the public.

"After consulting with the medical team, the most cautious course of action is to temporarily remain closed to ensure the safety and medical care of Charlotte and all our animals at Team ECCO Aquarium," the message reads. "We will provide updates as we have them and we appreciate your support and understanding."

According to WLOS13, the associate curator of The Florida Aquarium said he's hopeful that "the attention now will be paid to the animal's health."

Boles added that after reviewing recent images of the stingray, he sees significant muscle loss and retraction of her eyes into the eye sockets. These are signs that she is unwell.

Boles also said that he and other marine professionals don't believe that Ramer has adequate education, training, or certifications to determine what's going on with the popular stingray.

It's important to also note that the Hendersonville aquarium is not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Experts consider AZA the gold standard for zoos and aquariums in regard to animal medical care.

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How Did We Get Here?

Charlotte the stingray
TikTok | Team ECCO

Earlier in the year, Team ECCO shared the news that their female stingray is pregnant. They also revealed that with no male stingray in the tank with her, she was either having a shark's babies or she got pregnant on her own through parthenogenesis.

The hype was strong with fans from all over the country keeping tabs on the stingray's supposed miracle pregnancy.

After months of waiting and staying on stingray baby watch, fans started to wonder if the world had been lied to for attention and that the stingray wasn't actually pregnant. Team ECCO continued to say that they aren't sure how long her gestation period will be since they claimed it was a parthenogenesis pregnancy. But as the months progressed, fans were more adamant that we've all been duped.

It wasn't until last week that Team ECCO subtly admitted that Charlotte is not pregnant, and then this week they actually used the words, "Charlotte is no longer pregnant."

This leaves one question remaining - was Charlotte ever pregnant?

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