The Jakarta Post
Magnificent beast: WWF Indonesia monitoring and surveillance officer Evi Nurul Ihsan observes a whale shark near the Kwatisore fishing platform zone, Nabire, within Cenderawasih Bay National Park, Papua. (JP/Arya Dipa)
The park, located in Kwasitore in Nabire, Papua, monitors whale sharks, the largest fish species in the sea, throughout the year in its fishing platform zone.
Visitors must heed the instructions from the guides before going to the platform where whale sharks like to appear.
Apart from keeping a minimum distance of between 2 and 3 meters from the body and tail of the fish, divers are forbidden to touch or ride them.
Read also: Swimming with the whale sharks of Gorontalo
Divers taking pictures must not use flashes because they can disturb the whale sharks and even cause blindness. When the fish approaches, divers can swim to its side or go in reverse.
A study by WWF Indonesia in the zone identified individual 135 whale sharks, the majority being males with only four females. They measure 4 to 5 meters in length on average and fall into the young-age category.
Whale sharks have become a main tourist attraction for the park. In 2012, the park listed 1,764 foreign and local tourists and in 2016 it recorded 4,083 foreign and local visitors.
Do not disturb: A speed boat or a ship carrying divers is required to stop its engines when berthing at a platform so as not to disturb whale sharks.(JP/Arya Dipa)
Hi, human: A whale shark appears near the Kwatisore fishing platform area in Nabire in Cenderawasih Bay National Park, Papua.(JP/Arya Dipa)
Eating time: Whale sharks consume food by opening their mouths, sucking in water and filtering the food from it. This way of feeding causes whale sharks to be often found near the surface.(JP/Arya Dipa)