Renowned as being the world's largest fish, whale sharks are perhaps one of the most iconic creatures in the open ocean. Growing up to forty feet (12 metres – or the size of a bus!) and weighing up to 20 tonnes, whale sharks are true behemoths of the sea. You needn't be intimidated however as they are completely harmless and docile and only filter feed on plankton, small fish and krill!
Preferring warmer waters, the Indian Ocean provides one of the best locations in which to marvel at this graceful giant and participate on a one of a kind whale shark conservation project. These whale shark projects offer truly unique experiences as not only will you be able to get up, close and personal with these sharks – measuring and sexing them – but you will also come to recognise them individually as you continually carry out research. Extrapolated data will then be added into a database which will help establish the individual sharks themselves.
What better way to explore the paradise destinations of the Maldives, Tanzania's Mafia Island and Mozambique than by joining a Whale Shark Conservation Project!
Whale sharks are highly valued on international black markets for their meat, fins and oil, and this means that they are becoming a species targeted by poachers. Whale sharks are huge and slow moving, and when they are feeding on plankton they become a very easy target for those who are looking to capture them and sell their body parts. If things continue as they are at the moment, the whale shark will go from vulnerable to endangered very quickly, and we would be in danger of losing one of the world’s most gentle giants.
Due to their size, whale sharks have very few if any natural predators and threats in the wild, but problems begin to occur for them when humans get involved.