Common Name: Whale Shark
Scientific Name: Rhyncodon Typus
Whale Sharks are the world’s largest cartilaginous fish. These giant animals are filter feeders, meaning they swim through the water with the mouth open, and filter plankton and small fish through the gills. They are characterized by their gray body, white spotted pattern and belly, and a rounded face. Whale Sharks can be found in warm tropical waters, like off the coast of Australia. Large populations of Whale Sharks migrate to Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia in the search for warmer water.
Sadly, these magnificent fish are endangered. Even though their global population estimation is not exact, we do know that their populations are decreasing. The largest threats to Whale Sharks are humans due to overfishing, boat strikes, and habitat degradation. Another huge issue that affects all marine life is debris, such as fishing lines, nets, and plastic. Micro plastic is especially an issue for filter feeding animals. International markets have a high demand for fins, oil, and meat for dishes like shark fin soup. In order to combat these issues, Slacktyde gives 10% of the sales for every item sold with the whale shark design to the Galapagos Whale Shark Project.
The Galapagos Whale Shark Project is dedicated to studying the crucial insights into the lives of whale sharks. The Galápagos Islands are one of the several locations that Whale Sharks are known to visit. The majority of sharks that are sighted in the Galapagos Marine Reserve are large mature females, and a large portion appear to be pregnant. Since 2011, the Galapagos Whale Shark Project has tagged over 60 whale sharks in order to record the position of the sharks each time they surface.Your donation to their Endangered Sharks of Galapagos program will help them conserve these gentle giants and learn about them for years to come.