The pair of gentle water giants have been spotted in Abu Dhabi’s Al Raha Canal…

In an exciting conservation development, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has shared the news that two whale sharks have been spotted in Al Raha Canal, Abu Dhabi.

Baby Shark

Marine biologists attached to the EAD have reported that the adult and juvenile (yep, a legit ‘Baby Shark’ doo-doo-doo-doo) are in good health and “exhibiting feeding behaviour” (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo).

A video on the EAD’s social channels reminds us that “whale sharks are occasional visitors to Abu Dhabi” — but their presence in such shallow, in-shore waters is a rare sight.

The female of the species

These graceful creatures are filter feeders, meaning they consume plankton, krill and fish eggs, posing absolutely zero threat to humans. They can live up to 130 years and are the largest non-cetacean (non-whale) animal in the world.

Females with an average length of 14.5 metres tend to be considerably larger than their male counterparts, who come in at an average length of around eight to nine metres.


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Save the whale sharks

Sadly though, whale sharks are on the endangered species list. Despite several international bans on the targeting of whale sharks for capture, the market for their fins, skin and oil means that many still end up in the nets of unscrupulous fisheries. Their numbers are also hampered by ‘catch losses’, boat collisions, and by their own breeding behaviour (long lifespan and late maturation).

The EAD marine biodiversity team has advised that it is monitoring the situation and has asked the public to admire them from afar. Further sightings should be reported directly to the EAD on 800 555.

Images: Unsplash/Pixabay