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Whale shark in Corniche waters wows Abu Dhabi

Whale shark in Corniche waters wows Abu Dhabi
8 July 2024 08:58

A.SREENIVASA REDDY (ABU DHABI)

Shark sightings off the UAE coast are not uncommon, often making headlines when residents spot and photograph these magnificent creatures while strolling along the beach.

One such remarkable moment occurred recently when a whale shark gracefully appeared in the tranquil waters near the iconic Abu Dhabi Corniche.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) shared a video of this beautiful fish on Instagram, urging the public to admire the “precious visitor” from a safe distance to ensure both human safety and the animal’s wellbeing. They also encouraged anyone who spots rare marine visitors to contact the Agency at 800555.

The EAD emphasised that whale sharks, despite being the largest fish in the oceans, are gentle species and pose no threat to humans.

The Instagram post from EAD garnered enthusiastic responses. One resident remarked: “Waters are clear, and hearts are crystal clear. So you can stay back and be a guest of our pride,” celebrating the clarity of the waters and the presence of the majestic creature.

Another resident expressed hope for the whale shark’s extended stay, saying: “Let’s hope it stays for a while longer so more people like me can witness this gentle and beautiful creature.”

A different Instagram user commented, “It is wonderful to see it swimming free and not in a tank for entertainment.”

“We in Abu Dhabi are honoured to host this mighty visitor,” added another netizen.
According to the EAD website, the whale shark, scientifically known as Rhinocodon Typus, is the largest fish species, reaching lengths of 40 feet or more. Found mainly in tropical oceans, these “docile giants” primarily feed on planktonic crustaceans and fish eggs.

Each whale shark has a unique pattern of white spots, akin to human fingerprints, allowing for individual identification.

The species is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Fishing of whale sharks is prohibited year-round in the UAE, and the species is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), with international trade banned to ensure its survival, according to the EAD website.

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