For Whale Sharks, Madagascar is the place to be!

August 10, 2018
Clear blue sea, colours in the distance, sun shining bright above and down below in the sea are some of the largest fishes you ever saw. This is what you will experience if you travel down south to Madagascar!

With the richest biodiversity in the world, Madagascar now can also boast of being home to about 85 Whale Sharks - the largest fishes to exist. Researchers from Madagascar Whale Shark Project in Nosy Be, an island right next to Madagascar, have stated that the rise in the number of sharks in the area is recent. They assume that it is because of the easy availability of food. These findings have been published in the journal Endangered Public Research.

They are not present round the year; only during winters when they look for warmer waters. Number of tourists in this time period has also increased as they go to play, swim and watch the big harmless creatures in their natural habitat. However, the ones present in the area are juveniles measuring only up to 9 metres in length.

The animals were identified by their unique patterns over their body which were cross referenced with those sighted in the Indian Ocean and found no overlap suggesting they did not come from Mozambique or any of the nearby feeding areas. Later, satellite tags were attached to them to track their movements. Nearly half of them swam to 180 kms south of Nosy Be to another hotspot, 5 of them to Mayotte and the Comoros Islands and 2 to the south of Madagascar.

These findings are huge for the country as this will now boost Ecotourism which was, in the recent years, already rapidly developing. It is beautiful to see that in today’s world of environment degradation, animals have a safe haven. 

Post Written By - Bahana Saikia

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