Whale sharks are identified by the unique constellation-like patterns that adorn their bodies. Like our fingerprints, no two are the same! This allows for scientists and the public to distinguish individual whale sharks by comparing photographs. Called photographic identification or photo-ID, Wildbook uses photographs of the patterns behind the gills of each shark, and any scars, to distinguish between individuals. Using cutting-edge software to rapidly identify individuals, the platform shows that the Philippines population stands at over 1,600 individual whale sharks. Photos were submitted by scientists and conservationists of the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE), WWF-Philippines, and members of the public.
While Mexico is still the number one global hotspot for individuals (more than 2,400) and Australia has a large population on the database, the Philippines have one of the longest datasets on whale sharks in the world that dates back to WWF-Philippines implementing photo-ID research in Donsol in2006 Today, LAMAVE studies whale sharks in Donsol, Sogod Bay, Oslob, and two locations in Palawan.
“The Philippines’ progression to the number two spot, highlights the global significance of the archipelago for this endangered species, and emphasises the country as a conservation leader for the species in South East Asia,” said LAMAVE in a press release. “As well as being a significant milestone worldwide, this is also a conservation milestone for the species in the Philippines.”
Prior to 1998, whale sharks were hunted for local consumption and export in the region. In fact, there was a report by WWF-Philippines in the 1990s saw a decline in their catch numbers, which may have been due to a population decline. In March 1998 a nation-wide ban was implemented and forbid the killing, capture and consumption of whale sharks in Philippine waters. But this wasn’t the end of human-shark interactions as Donsol, Sorsogon opened the first whale shark tourism destination. Today, whale sharks are an important part of the tourism industry in this country and bring in almost half a million tourists a year.
The whale shark is currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has recently gone from Vulnerable to Endangered due to threats to these gentle giants in Southeast Asia. Threats include marine pollution, boat strikes, and accidental entanglement in fishing nets. “This, in part, prompted a call for greater international protection for whale sharks championed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) who proposed the uplisting of the species to Appendix I on the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in October 2017, a move that would offer the species further protection internationally,” explained LAMAVE. The ocean does not have borders or walls to prevent animals from leaving the protection and safety of one country, and so LAMAVE hopes their research in Palawan showing connectivity of these sharks with two neighbouring countries will allow them to pursue international collaborations for conservation measures.”The whale shark continues to face threats internationally, and also in Philippine waters through unregulated tourism and accidental bycatch, however being recognised as the second most significant whale shark population in the world, according to Wildbook for Whale Sharks, is something to be celebrated. LAMAVE hopes that the Philippines will continue to lead in conservation efforts to protect the Butanding (tuki, tiki-tiki, taloki, tawiki, tiriki-tiki, iho-tiki), the pride of the country,” concluded LAMAVE.
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It’s authorities: the Philippines formally hosts the second biggest recognized population of whale sharks on the planet according to (** )Wildbook for Whale Sharks , a photo-identification library that boasts a visual database of whale shark( Rhincodon typus ) encounters worldwide. By separately cataloguing the whale sharks, it permits marine biologists to gather and evaluate whale shark sighting information to find out more about these fantastic animals and where they can be discovered.
Whale sharks are determined by the special constellation-like patterns that decorate their bodies. Like our finger prints, no 2 are the very same! This enables researchers and the general public to differentiate specific whale sharks by comparing pictures. Called photographic recognition or photo-ID, Wildbook utilizes pictures of the patterns behind the gills of each shark, and any scars, to compare people. Utilizing innovative software application to quickly determine people, the platform reveals that the Philippines population stands at over 1,600 specific whale sharks. Pictures were sent by researchers and conservationists of the Big Marine Vertebrates Research Study Institute Philippines ( LAMAVE), WWF-Philippines, and members of the general public.
While Mexico is still the top international hotspot for people (more than 2,400) and Australia has a big population on the database, the Philippines have among the longest datasets on whale sharks on the planet that goes back to WWF-Philippines executing photo-ID research study in Donsol in2006 Today, LAMAVE research studies whale sharks in Donsol, Sogod Bay, Oslob, and 2 places in Palawan.
” The Philippines’ development to the second area, highlights the international significance of the island chain for this threatened types, and stresses the nation as a preservation leader for the types in South East Asia,” stated LAMAVE in a news release “In addition to being a considerable turning point worldwide, this is likewise a preservation turning point for the types in the Philippines.”
Prior to 1998, whale sharks were looked for regional usage and export in the area. In truth, there was a report by WWF-Philippines in the 1990 s saw a decrease in their catch numbers, which might have been because of a population decrease. In March 1998 a nation-wide restriction was carried out and prohibit the killing, capture and usage of whale sharks in Philippine waters. However this wasn’t completion of human-shark interactions as Donsol, Sorsogon opened the very first whale shark tourist location. Today, whale sharks are a fundamental part of the tourist market in this nation and generate nearly half a million travelers a year.