The LAMAVE (Large Marine Vertebrates Project) has photographed the first match of an individual whale shark in different Regions in the Philippines!
Shark P-429, dubbed by researchers as “Ronald” was first identified in Oslob, Cebu in April 2012 was seen again during a research expedition in San Ricardo, Southern Leyte a month later.
This finding underlines the importance of the Bohol Sea for the population of whale sharks in the Philippines and in the South East Asia. These animals, once very abundant in the Visayas, have been depleted by decades of hunting and now, thanks to National and International protection are slowly re-populating their original habitats.
Photo by conservation photographer Steve de Neef of researcher Dominic "Ranga" Clarke while photo-identifying the whale shark in Leyte, Philippines.
Thanks to the work of the researchers, more information can be collected and must be used as a tool to ensure the long term conservation of these magnificent animals.
Unfortunately, we are reminded that the impact of human activities on these animals have far reaching, and unpredictable consequences. As migratory species, any changes in behavior caused by human activities in one area, can put the animal at risk as it displays this altered behavior in other areas (even other countries) where whale sharks are still not fully protected.
LAMAVE will continue to work on conserving whale sharks in the Philippines through scientific research and community outreach. (www.lamave.org)