Whale Shark Philippines

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Finding a Whale Shark

on November 19, 2013

Whale sharks are the “gentle giants” of the seas despite their enormous size. They are solitary creatures by nature and only group together when they need to feed. Whale sharks often migrate to tropical seas or warm seas such as the Philippines, India, Honduras, and Mexico. Microscopic organisms – the preferred food of whale sharks – are more abundant in these places. These are also protected areas because of reported or sightings of whale shark capture.

Whale Shark

Whale sharks, that pose no threat to humans, are the main targets of illegal fishing in East Asian countries. The by-products from whale sharks are shark fins, liver oil, skin, and meat. Marine conservationists can’t help but be concerned because of the vulnerability of whale sharks in our seas.

Marine conservationists adapted effective methods to prevent the probable extinction of these giant timid creatures. The techniques researchers use are photo-identification, acoustic tags, position-only satellite tags, and pop-up tags. These are also used to monitor and study other marine creatures.

An interesting method they use is photo-identification where they take pictures of a whale shark’s skin. Why is it interesting? Researchers discovered that the spots and stripes of a whale shark are unique in its own. It is same as human fingerprints so it means a whale shark is easily distinguishable from the other.

Acoustic tagging is another method used to study the behavior of marine animals. A device is surgically inserted inside the body of a whale shark. The device transmits a sound and this sound can pinpoint the whale shark’s location.

Satellites are not only using for communications, weather monitoring, scientific research, and space exploration. It is also used to locate whale sharks and other animals from space. Via position-only satellite tags, when the shark comes to the surface its position is easily located. The downside of this technology is the signal a satellite transmits can’t penetrate through the water’s surface.

The counterpart of position-only satellite tag is a pop-up tag or known as pop-up satellite archival tag. It can be use without the animal resurfacing from under the water. Pop-up tags can monitor the movement and behavior of animals real-time.

It is true that humans were the ones who invented and instigated some ways to prevent the extinction of fauna. However, we can’t deny the fact that there are opposing individuals whose concern is to make money out of this vulnerable species like whale sharks. Advance technology is not only the answer to stop this illegal trade. We must not forget that every one of us has a responsibility to protect and nurture the place we are living in.

Get interested? If you want to see and get interact with whale shark in the Philippines, for more information about whale sharks and also to make a trip here in the Philippines, I suggest this website: http://www.cocktaildivers.com/


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One response to “Finding a Whale Shark

  1. […] Finding a Whale Shark (thewhalesharkphilippines.wordpress.com) […]

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