Hello Shark Lovers!
Yesterday, August 30th, was one of the best days of the year: International Whale Shark Day!
International Whale Shark Day was created in 2012 in order to raise awareness about these majestic creatures. Back in 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed its current whale shark data and concluded that whale sharks were vulnerable due to a number of reasons, including shark finning, vessel strike, fishing gear entanglement, and bycatch. The IUCN then reassessed the status of whale sharks in 2016 and deemed them endangered.
Some people may think whale sharks are dangerous due to their immense size, but humans are much more dangerous to them than they are to us. Whale sharks solely filter feed and survive mostly off of plankton. They are very slow-moving and gentle creatures. Many divers say their favorite diving experiences occurred while diving alongside these majestic sharks!
Cool whale shark info:
- Whale sharks are found worldwide in tropical latitudes.
- Scientists don’t have much data on whale shark migration patterns, but they are thought to travel across entire oceans to feast on plankton blooms.
- Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and can grow up to 40/50 feet, with their mouths sometimes being as wide as 5 feet!
- They can also dive extremely deep, over 3200 feet.
- Whale sharks have unique spots that scientists use to identify certain individuals.
How can we help whale sharks?
The things we do to help protect other sharks apply to whale sharks as well. Do not buy or consume shark fin soup or any other items that contain shark byproducts. This also applies to makeup products as well. If you’re unsure about whether your makeup contains shark, read the blog post from May 14 titled, Is your Makeup Killing Sharks?
Supporting ecotourism is another way we can protect these sharks. If you plan on swimming or diving with whale sharks through a company make sure to do plenty of research. You want to make sure the company is sustainable in their practices and focuses on shark conservation. As always, be aware of how your actions affect the environment and remember to be environmentally friendly in everything that you do.
Written by Nikki Tenaglia