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Jakarta Post

Celebrating whale sharks responsibly

  • Casandra Tania and Elis Nurhayati

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PREMIUM
Cambridge/Jakarta   /   Wed, September 12, 2018   /  11:57 am
Celebrating whale sharks responsibly Illustration: A whale shark approaching the surface. (Shutterstock/Andrea Izzotti)

Few may have been aware that Aug. 30 was International Whale Shark Day, a day dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness of the largest fish in the world. The shark can grow up to 18 meters long and weigh as much as 20.6 tons, about the size of a school bus. 

A whale shark is a shark not a whale; it is a fish that breathes using gills and because it is a shark, its skeleton is not made from bone but cartilage, like our nose and ears. It has many tiny teeth (up to 3,000), but a whale shark cannot bite, making it one of the “friendliest” sharks. 

The shark are massive like whales and feed more like whales than a typical shark. Yet they are very docile. They eat plankton, fish and coral eggs, shrimps and bait fish by filtering and sucking in water. 

Though they live in warm waters, researchers usually get to study t...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.