The bunnies have got Easter sewn up and Christmas is all about Rudolph, so it’s only fair that everyone’s favorite fish, the whale shark, gets a bite at the cherry.
Whale Shark Facts:
- Weighing over 20 tons, the whale shark is the largest fish in the sea.
- A whale shark lives an average of 70 years.
- Some whale sharks grow to over 32 feet long.
- These gentle giants are about the same size as a bus.
- The whale shark’s habitat is found in the tropical seas around the world.
- Whale sharks are carnivores, but their teeth are only 6 mm long.
- Like human fingerprints, whale sharks each have a unique skin pattern.
Learn about International Whale Shark Day
International Whale Shark Day has been designed so that we can celebrate and increase awareness about these amazing sea-dwelling creatures. We need to protect and conserve the whale shark, as their numbers are declining. These gentle giants fascinate aquatic enthusiasts and marine biologists alike, yet it is up to us to make sure that their numbers increase and their futures are protected. This is what International Whale Shark Day is all about.
Whale sharks are incredible to look at, and even more fascinating to learn about. However, they are becoming endangered. They are actually one of the most vulnerable marine animals according to the IUCN, which is the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Some interesting facts about whale sharks
Are they sharks? Or, are they whales? A whale shark is a shark. Let’s get that cleared up first and foremost. In fact, a whale shark is the biggest living species of shark on our planet. They can grow up to 14 meters in length, as well as weighing an average of 12 ton. Despite the fact that they are so big, their teeth are very small, measuring only six millimeters in length.
One of the most fascinating facts about whale sharks is that they all have a unique pattern. The skin of a whale shark is fully unique, just like the fingerprint of a human. This gives researchers the ability to run visual analytics on a whale shark so that they can identify and track it correctly.
One of the reasons why whale sharks are so vulnerable is because they move at shallow depths, and they move slowly in the ocean. They prefer to roam seas that have around a 50-meter depth, despite the fact that they can dive up to 1,000 meters. In terms of speed, they swim at approximately five kilometers per hour. Because of this, they are highly vulnerable to getting caught in fishing nets and ship collisions.
History of International Whale Shark Day
Started in 2012, International Whale Shark Day celebrates these gentle giants. Growing up to 14 metres long and 12 tons heavy, whale sharks have a face only a mother could love: no whale shark will ever win a beauty contest, so it’s right they’re made to feel special one day a year. However, there’s a serious purpose to the day, which aims to raise awareness of how this animal has been hunted to vulnerability for its highly prized fins and meat.
In fact, in 2016, the whale shark was reclassified by the IUCN, moving from a vulnerable species to an endangered one, which is incredibly worrying. According to some estimates, it is believed that there are only tens of thousands of these sharks life across the globe. There are a number of different reasons why whale sharks are declining. Of course, hunting has a huge role to play. However, there are also cases of whale sharks colliding with boats, as well as these sharks getting trapped in fishing gear. In some parts of Asia, products that are made from whale sharks are in very high demand.
Of course, we cannot talk about the threat to any sort of ocean life without mentioning plastic. Waste plastics find their way into our oceans. A whale shark can easily end up ingesting plastic, and this can cause a lot of issues, as it can get lodged into the whale’s digestive tract. When this happens, the whale will usually starve to death, as it is not going to be able to eat anymore. When you take everything that has been mentioned into account, it is not hard to see why the lives of so many whale sharks are threatened and why we need to do our bit in order to protect this endangered species.