Since November 2006, two new whale sharks have been formally identified and added to the ECOCEAN Photo Identification Library bringing the count to six in the Red Sea.
ECOCEAN is a global data collection programme that uses a special computerised technique to identify the spots on the skin of the Whale Shark similar to how NASA "maps" the stars in the galaxies. The total number of recorded whale shark encounters is less than 3000, with just 772* identified worldwide.
Whale sharks have been sighted in the last few weeks, north around the area of Shabruur Umm Gamar and as far South as Shaab Rumi in Sudan. Several Whale Sharks have also been seen in the areas around Marsa Alam and Fury Shoal.
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus dates back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods 245 -65 million years ago
They are fish and therefore obtain oxygen via their gills
Regarded as highly migratory
Produce live young. Pups are born at a fraction of their adult size, approximately 55cm in length at birth
Thought to reach sexual maturity after 30 years
Estimated life span is between 80 and 150 years
The whale shark is considered "vulnerable to extinction" by the ICUN, but is only protected in a few of the approximately 100 countries it is said to visit - indicating the need for us all to be concerned for the future of this amazing giant of the oceans!
Have you seen a Whale Shark? Find out how you can help protect and learn more interesting facts about the largest fish in the world by logging on to www.whalesharkproject.org or www.ecocean.org and submit your photos!
And don't forget to post them on your Emperor Gallery too.