Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme visit Vakarufalhi Prodivers

06 Aug 2014

We are very fortunate to have a resident population of whale sharks at several dive sites a stone’s throw away from Vakarufalhi. And what makes the whole South Ari whale shark experience even better is the fact that the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme is based on the neighbouring island of Dhigurah, meaning there are perfect conditions for good cooperation, aimed at spreading knowledge about these magnificent creatures and raising awareness about the need to protect them.

Snorkelling with a whale shark is an exhilarating experience, one that you’ll reminiscent on for a long, long time. Prodivers are a curious bunch of people and we like to throw in a fun fact or two along with anything that we see underwater. During Richard and Jim’s visit, Veronika was given a full day training to get the latest MWSRP research findings, and we invited the founders to our dive center a few days later.

Tap any of our staff on the shoulder if you’d like to find out more about the South Ari Marine Protected Area (in the declaring of which MWSRP played a defining role), and share your whale shark photos and sightings info with us to contribute to the research!

Fast facts:

  • The whale shark is the largest living fish on the planet
  • It belongs to the group called Chondrichtyes, which includes sharks, rays, and skates. These fish have skeletons made entirely of cartilage in comparison to other fishes that have skeletons made of bone
  • Similar to the fingerprint of a human, the pattern of spots around the gill area are unique to each individual, allowing researchers to identify individual sharks
  • The mouth of the whale shark is massive, reaching a width of approximately 1 meter, and contains more than 4,000 tiny teeth
  • Whale sharks are filter feeders
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable
  • Main threats: Habitat loss, marine pollution, collision with boats, disturbance or harassment by boats and divers engaged in irresponsible tourism activities