The largest species of sharks that can be found on our planet in whale sharks and to celebrate the epic of this gigantic fish, the world observes International Whale Shark Day every year on August 30th.
In the last few centuries alone we have seen a decrease of around 50% in the population of these beautiful creatures. And because of this, it now poses an extinction threat to these species and they are also classified as endangered species.
This is to increase awareness regarding this fact for a need to conserve these amazing creatures this day was created and it also educates on the importance of whale sharks in our ecosystem.
|Event||International Whale Shark Day|
|Date||August 30, 2022|
|Importance||The day raises awareness of the whale shark and raises concerns about its extinction|
History of International Whale Shark Day:
International Whale Shark Day was founded in 2008 at the International Whale Shark Conference held on the island of Isla Hoblox in Mexico. The conference was attended by around 40 ocean experts, activists and scientists who have expressed concern about the declining population of whale sharks around the world. That is why, as a means of raising awareness, this day was created.
Scientifically, sharks are thought to have been around for a long time, at least over 240-260 million years. And that’s even before the existence of dinosaurs, because sharks are very good survivors and have survived many extinction risks in the past.
However, for the first time, the whale shark was first discovered in the 1820s only off the coast of South Africa. At that time, only Dr. Andrew Smith described it as the largest existing shark on earth and that could have been a reason for it being called Whale Shark for its size.
This discovery was followed by many discoveries that were yet to come. As in 1868, Edward Percevel Wright’s reports observed and studied several whale sharks reaching a length of 75 feet. Then, in 1994-1996, Scott Eckert and Brent Stewart used satellite tracking of these whale sharks for the first time to study the lifestyle and growth of this incredible species.
Meaning of International Whale Shark Day:
Despite their enormous size, whale sharks are generally not as aggressive as other shark species. At birth, they were only about 16 to 24 inches tall, and when they are all adults, they usually have sizes between 46 and 60 feet. They have around 3000 teeth which are usually small with sizes of only 0.2 inches. And it really is a very beautiful sea creature.
The whale shark is also known to be slow compared to its cousins. And it mostly prefers swimming in shallow depths, but it can also go down to 3,000 feet deep. Due to these factors, whale sharks are extremely convenient to fish. People have been using them for their meats and fins for a long time.
There is therefore a huge market and demand for whale sharks which is continually causing its population to decline. At least over 50% of whale sharks have been declined in the last few centuries alone and so they are now classified as endangered species and there is a good chance. if they are not taken care of and their hunting is not stopped, they will disappear before the end of this century only.
Sharks are those species that have managed to survive five extinctions already in the past and continue to thrive on our planet, but due to human activities they may become extinct and this may also be devastating to our ecosystem because whale sharks mainly consume plankton, squid and fish and if they go extinct it can lead to an overpopulation of these species which will create problems for our planet and humans as well.
Facts about International Whale Shark Day:
Let’s see some very interesting and informal facts about our amazing sea creature called whale sharks:
- Whale sharks are not actually whales as they are a species of shark but they are only called whales for their gigantic size.
- Whale sharks don’t have long, sharp teeth, so they have to swallow all their food.
- A whale shark can live up to 150 years old, but around 90% of whale sharks are killed before they are 150 years old.
- Whale sharks do not stay with their young after they give birth.
- Whale sharks are slow swimmers, their maximum speed is only 3.1 miles per hour.
International Whale Shark Day Most Searched FAQs:
1. When is International Whale Shark Day celebrated?
International Whale Shark Day is celebrated annually on August 30 around the world.
2. When was International Whale Shark Day founded?
International Whale Shark Day was founded in 2009 in Isla Hoblox, Mexico.
3. Are whale sharks endangered?
Yes, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed whale sharks as endangered in 2021.