20211002 160452 1

In April 2022, we celebrated the 10th birthday of our four endangered smalltooth sawfish! Atlantis, Paradise Island, an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility, achieved a major milestone when two male and two female pups were born at the world-class marine habitat in April 2012. Atlantis is the first and only facility in the world to have reproductive success of the smalltooth sawfish, a critically endangered species.

The smalltooth sawfish is one of the most endangered fish in the world, listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The wild population of this species has declined dramatically by nearly 95% since the 1900’s mainly due to habitat destruction and as incidental catch in fishermen’s nets.

What is the significance of their birth at Atlantis Paradise Island?

"With wild populations of smalltooth sawfish declining at a rapid rate and a very small number in zoological facilities around the world, this achievement is a critical first step in creating a sustainable managed population,” says Michelle Liu, Senior Vice President of Marine and Water Park Operations.

“Atlantis, Paradise Island is committed to helping save this endangered species throughout the world in conjunction with other organizations and industry professionals.”  “We are also partnering with the Nature Conservancy, Bahamas National Trust and The Blue Project to protect the valuable habitats of the smalltooth sawfish in The Bahamas.”

Why are they at risk?
Why are they at risk?

Sawfish are primarily inshore or near shore marine animals and coastal development has destroyed much of the natural environment where sawfish would typically live. Sawfish are normally found in and around habitats such as mangrove creeks and shallow grass flats, but unfortunately, these areas are usually targeted for land fill and dredging.  These practices destroy the natural habitat of the sawfish and are the leading factors in their declining population. In the past, humans caught and killed sawfish for their meat, liver oil, fins and rostra.

Why are they at risk?
THERE ­IS ­ONLY ­ONE­ AQUARIUM­ ON­ EARTH where smalltooth sawfish have ever successfully reproduced: Atlantis, Paradise Island.

The four offspring pups averaged 76 cm (30 in) in length at birth and were initially transferred to the fish hospital to be protected from other predatory species and closely monitored for several months by the Aquarium Husbandry staff and Veterinarian team.

Along with this endangered species, Caribbean reef sharks and blacknose sharks were also born in an aquarium for the first time at Atlantis. Collecting invaluable data on the reproduction of sawfish and sharks provides us with critical information to help save them in the wild.

See the 8 distinctive smalltooth sawfish in 2 of our marine habitats

Predator Lagoon

Explore the Predator Lagoon for a view from above or below in the Predator Tunnel. Our four adults can be seen swimming in the large, 1.5-million-gallon open-air lagoon that also displays over 10,000 other marine animals.

Marine Habitat

The four 10-year-old offspring can be seen in The Ruins, our open-air marine habitat just outside The Royal..

Atlantis Paradise Island is proud to be accredited by the following organizations:

The Atlantis Blue ProjectAccredited by the Association of Zoos and AquariumsMember of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and AquariumsAccredited by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association

Ask Mona the Atlantis Virtual Assistant
Generative AI is experimental. Result quality may vary.
MONA: Your Virtual Assistant
Hello, how can I help you?
Helpful links
  • Resort Map
  • Atlantis Bahamas Day Pass
Quick Questions
  • Book Transportation?
  • Make Dining Reservations?
  • Buy a day pass?