International Whale Shark Day is celebrated on August 30th to draw attention to these amazing creatures of nature and to preserve their species. This fish is the largest shark species on the planet, growing up to 60 feet from birth. The whale shark is known for its slowness and fluidity of movement, and it generally prefers shallow waters, though it can be found in waters as deep as 3000 feet. Unfortunately, this makes them very easy to catch, which has led to a reduction in the population by at least 50%. As a result, they are now listed as an endangered species.
Whale Shark Day was first celebrated in 2008 at an international conference for the species on Holbox Island. The event brought together 40 ocean experts, activists, and scientists concerned about the declining whale shark populations.
Although whale sharks have existed for over 240-260 million years, the first of the species was only discovered off the coast of South Africa in the 1820s. Dr. Andrew Smith rightly called this fish the largest shark that ever existed on earth. Whale sharks are not known to be aggressive, although their sheer size looks intimidating. At birth, they do not exceed 16-24 inches, and they can live up to 25 years and grow up to 46-60 feet in length. They have 300 rows of 3000 teeth that are only 0.2 inches long! Whale sharks weigh about 12 tons and feed on plankton, squid, and fish. Their appetite is serious, and their mouth works like a huge filter.
How to take part
Celebrate Whale Shark Day in an interesting and useful way:
- Learn more about these amazing creatures of nature.
- Stop using plastic around beaches. Plastic bottles and bags, if ingested by sharks or other marine animals, can lead to illness and even death.
- Tell your friends about whale sharks on social media, post pictures of them, draw attention to their endangered species, and warn everyone not to throw away plastic on the beaches. Use the hashtag #InternationalWhaleSharkDay.
- Donate to ocean conservation organizations that help protect the whale shark population.
When is International Whale Shark Day celebrated in 2023?
International Whale Shark Day is observed on August 30 each year.