Yesterday’s interview with Reuters Singapore about LAMAVE’s work in the controversial whale shark tourism in Oslob, Cebu.
Whale sharks are fed frozen shrimp daily to keep in shallow waters for tourist interaction. No doubt the industry has increased the income of the area, but more research is needed to determine the full effects of feeding on highly migratory animals and encouraging a positive association with boats (propellors or not) and people.
GPOY: About to biopsy a whale shark…
…from my friend Steve De Neef’s shiny new website (www.stevedeneef.com).
He’s been diligently documenting the situation in Oslob (where they feed the whale sharks) and other conservation issues and projects around the Philippines.
His shots are truly stunning, check them out!
NB. My (awesome) fins got stolen the night before. Borrowed these and can confirm split fins are not the ideal choice for swimming after a whale shark!! It did mean I got to upgrade though.
Happy International Whale Shark Day!
August 30 was declared as International Whale Shark Day by the hosts of the 2008 International Whale Shark Conference.
Especially for you Miss Craven…forgot about these bad boys…introducing the crumpled un-finished sharks of oslob (Taken with Instagram)
:D This is awesome!
Ray’s not around at the moment, nor is Dorian, or DE. I hope they are off feeding naturally…
Labelling vials of preserved whale shark poop.
Marine biology is a most glamorous career choice indeed.
Big shout out to gunsandbikinis for her poop collecting efforts. Good job, good job!
Crazy-Halo-Rainbow-Sun-Thingymijig. Anyone got a proper name for it?
Juvenile Teira Batfish (Platax teira)
by Samantha Craven
Look who collected a whale shark poo sample today!
Whale shark faeces can provide clues to what and where the sharks are feeding. This is especially important in Oslob, where whale sharks are being hand fed one type of frozen food daily. DNA analysis of poo contents can give us an idea if the sharks are feeding on other foods outside of feeding hours, and might give us a clue as to where they go after hours!
This is science peeps.
Don’t forget to wash your hands.
A stranded Pan-tropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) with a Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis) bite.
This was a dolphin that stranded in a nearby village a couple of weeks ago. The local government stranding response was really good and in a couple of hours the dead dolphin caught a ride up a steep hill from the beach to the main road from a bunch of strong and ingenious men who fashioned a “stretcher” out of wood and rope lying around.
Popped on the truck, it made it’s way home. To my home, which is fast becoming the dolphin grave yard. Though my living here, and it’s use as a dolphin burial ground are unrelated, it makes for easy work! We performed a necropsy on this super skinny male and found it’s stomach completely devoid of contents. No sign of plastic or fishing hooks though - so it probably had a disease that stopped it from eating.
What did not kill it is the seemingly traumatic bite from it’s side. The massive hole went all the way down to the muscle layer and is the calling card of one of the weird monsters of the deep - the Cookiecutter shark!
Also known as the cigar shark, this charmer grabs large cylindrical chunks of flesh out of large marine animals. How you might ask?
It sucks onto the body surface of the prey and retracts its tongue to create negative pressure with suction lips to ensure a tight seal. Then, the bite, anchored by narrow upper teeth and sliced by the menacing lower teeth. And to top it off, some acrobatics, as the shark twists and rotates the body to make a circular cut, and we’re done.
The bites don’t kill the “prey” which can include cetaceans, sharks, sting rays, dugongs, bony fish and the occasional human….!
P.S. I don’t know why I posted this twice!