Daily News Analysis

Whale sharks                                                                                                        

3rd January, 2022 Environment

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Context: Rare rescue mission led by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is an exemplary success story of active involvement of the local community in species conservation.


Facts about whale shark:


  • Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the world’s largest fish
  • They feed on plankton and travel massive distances to find food to sustain their huge size, and for reproduction.
  • Habitat: Found in all the tropical oceans of the world, whale sharks have white spotted colouration which make these gentle giants easy to distinguish.
    • They are popular with snorkelers and divers at sites where they aggregate off the coast.
  • Importance: The presence of whale sharks indicates the availability of plankton and the overall health of the oceans.
  • Size: While not exactly known, the maximum size of a whale shark could be as large as 20 metres.
  • Density: Gujarat has the maximum density of whale shark population in the Indo-pacific region.
  • Threats: Oil & gas drilling, shipping lanes etc.
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Endangered
    • CITES: Appendix II
    • Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I