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Footage from a diving team showed a gigantic whale shark getting a bit too close for comfort to a diver. The footage was taken from a group of divers off the coast of Nabire, in the Indonesian province of Papua. In the clip, a diver can be seen exploring the deep, when a gigantic whale shark appears out of nowhere.
The whale shark hovers around the person almost as if it is sizing the human up.
Eventually, the whale shark leaves the person alone and seems more interested in the bubbles coming from the diver.
Whale sharks appear to be terrifying beasts. They are part of the shark family, but get their ‘whale’ name as they are slow-moving gentle beasts.
Despite the fact that the whale shark has more than 3,000 teeth and a mouth wide enough to consume a human in one go, they only eat small fish.
This is because they are known as filter feeders.
They glide through the ocean with their mouths open wide, filtering out plankton, small fish and squid to consume.
Whale sharks are extremely docile and there are no records in history of humans being attacked, or eaten, by one.
They can reach up to 14 metres long, and weigh more than 12 tonnes – making them the largest fish in the entire ocean.
Their hefty size which slows them down, however, with a maximum speed of around four miles per hour.
Much like a human and its fingerprints, the white dots over a whale shark are unique to an individual.
However, human activity has seen a sharp decline in the number of whale sharks.
Although specific numbers are hard to track, scientists estimate that there are left than 3,000 whale sharks left in the ocean.
The World Wildlife Fund said: “These gentle marine giants roam the oceans around the globe, generally alone.
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“However, large numbers of whale sharks often gather in areas with abundant plankton food—making them prime tourist attractions.
“The distribution of whale sharks indicates the presence of plankton and the overall health of our oceans.
“Whale sharks are highly valued on international markets. Demand for their meat, fins and oil remains a threat to the species, particularly by unregulated fisheries.
“They are victims of bycatch, the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing gear.
“And whale shark tourism presents a threat to the species as it can interrupt their feeding and sharks can be injured by boat propellers.”
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