Vakarufalhi – Whale Shark Research

25 Jan 2010

Today Rachel & Jay, 2 volunteers from the Maldives Whaleshark Research Program came to visit us and provide us with some insight into their work. The whale shark is a protected animal and currently we just don’t have enough data on this, the largest fish in the world to protect it more effectively.

The results from their ongoing research show that in the South Ari Atoll, we have the same whale sharks as in the Baa Atoll – the whalesharks are migrating between the atolls, and it appears that they are resident in the Maldives the whole year round. 

Another interesting fact is that the whalesharks in the Maldives are mostly male, and the biggest one they have seen was about 9 meters, and estimated to be around 30 years old!!!  When whalesharks reach this age, they leave the Maldives as they head off in search for a female partner with which to mate. Most of the time whalesharks can be found at depth, surfacing only for short periods and then mostly at night.  This suggests that we are very lucky to see them that often here in the South Ari Atoll!

Close to Vakarufalhi there are a number of dive sites where you have the chance of whaleshark encounters. Simply click on the dive sites below to find out more about them:

If you want to learn more about their research, sponsoring, volunteering and protection visit their site The Maldivian Whaleshark Research Project.