Getting a blood sample from a massive whale shark can be particularly challenging and would typically require administering an anesthetic to put the animal under and prevent harm to the team. But this aquarium has developed a non-invasive way of gathering a blood sample, and it involves getting the subject used to having a human presence.
In the case of this particular subject, the whale shark was swimming in tight right-handed circles, and the muscles in the left-hand side of its body were beginning to exhibit atrophy. Experts at the facility suggested a blood sample to determine what might have been causing the issue, whether that might have been caused by any sort of internal inflammation, infection, or otherwise.
Upon closer inspection, the aquarium decided to inject the whale shark with a steroid that would combat inflammation, and during the next feed, they saw significant improvements in the animal’s straight-line swimming.
As it would seem, the small blood sample was vital to providing the animal with the proper treatment to recover.