AUG 18, 2017 6:58 AM PDT

First Health Assessment of Endangered Whale Sharks Performed

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Animal conservation researchers are making history by performing the first-ever major health assessment of endangered whale sharks.

It's not a whale, and it's probably not what you imagine when you think of a shark. But it's a whale shark!

Image Credit: StockSnap/Pixabay

Given their name, you’d probably think they were a mix between a whale and a shark, but it’s a bit of a misnomer because whales are mammals and can’t mate with sharks. Instead, it’s just a shark with whale-like aesthetic qualities, but it’s notably the largest fish in the ocean.

Researching these creatures isn’t easy because they’re always on the move and difficult to track, but experts from the Georgia Aquarium teamed up with Conservation International (CI) and researchers with the Indonesian government to make it all possible.

“Local scientists studying whale shark migratory behaviors shared their knowledge with Conservation International and Georgia Aquarium, and have in turn received a more complete worldview of whale shark migratory patterns -- an important aspect of conserving a wide-ranging species,” said Dr. Selvy Tebay, S.Pi., M.Si., Vice Rector IV of University of Papua (UNIPA).

“This will lead to practical and tangible conservation benefits for the species as well as wider marine tourism management within West Papua, which is a priority for the Indonesian Government.”

Once the teams got out into the field, they snagged blood samples, attached GPS tracking devices, and took more accurate measurements of the whale sharks’ physical properties.

The blood and measurement data will go down in writing immediately to bring research up to date, but the GPS tracking devices are part of a bigger research scheme. They'll be used to understand better how the animals travel through the ocean to feed and migrate and to learn how ocean tourism impacts their well-being.

A total of seven whale sharks were tagged, and those tags should have enough juice to provide invaluable GPS tracking information for at least two years.

Whale sharks being so misunderstood makes their endangered status even more alarming. It's important to find out what harms their well-being and put a stop to it so we can prevent these beautiful creatures from going extinct. Fortunately, this new research is a step in the right direction.

It should be interesting to see what the researchers found from this new health assessment, and anyone interested can stay tuned to the results as they get published in the Georgia Aquarium's newsroom.

Source: EurekAlert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 24, 2020
Sting Operation: Underage Customers Can't Buy Cannabis
Cannabis retailers in Colorado, Washington and Oregon have received top marks in secret tests to determine whether they were selling to underage buyers (yo...
JAN 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 26, 2020
Iguanas Are Falling From Trees in Florida
The state of Florida has endured an exceptionally chilly Winter season this time around, and some of the state’s wild critters are taking notice. Whi...
FEB 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 04, 2020
Different Predators Work Together to Corral a Swarm of Sardines
When large schools of sardines materialize in the oceans, it can be a spectacular sight. In some cases, however, the sight can be so spectacular that it me...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
These Jellyfish Deliver Stings Without Touching You
Most people are accustomed to thinking that if you avoid a jellyfish’s tentacles while swimming in the ocean, then you won’t be stung. For the...
MAR 03, 2020
Neuroscience
MAR 03, 2020
Scientists Use Electrical Pulses to Switch Consciousness On and Off in Monkeys
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that it’s possible to wake a monkey out of a deeply anesthetized sleep by electricall...
MAR 13, 2020
Health & Medicine
MAR 13, 2020
Congressional Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bills for Veterans
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee recently advanced two bills relating to veteran use of medical marijuana.  Currently, in the United States...
Loading Comments...