Celebrating International Whale Shark Day

by Carolee Chanona

International Whale Shark Day happens on August 30 every year – all about celebrating these colossal creatures and encouraging marine conservation efforts aimed at this shark species. After all, these gentle giants fascinate marine biologists and aquatic enthusiasts alike! Although massive, whale sharks are only one of three known shark species that filter feed; in Belize, they do so in the southern tip of the country. Between March and June, visitors of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve have a unique chance to swim with these gentle giants.

Whale Shark Facts:

whale shark Belize

Swimming with whale sharks is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can, sometimes, be based on pure luck.

  • Weighing over 20 tons, the whale shark is the largest fish in the sea.
  • A whale shark lives an average of 70 years.
  • Some whale sharks grow to over 32 feet long.
  • These gentle giants are about the same size as a bus.
  • The whale shark’s habitat is found in the tropical seas around the world.
  • Whale sharks are carnivores, but their teeth are only 6 mm long.
  • Like human fingerprints, whale sharks each have a unique skin pattern.

Whale sharks are quite majestic. Unfortunately, they are becoming endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whale sharks are one of the most vulnerable marine animals.

HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalWhaleSharkDay FROM HOME

Splash diving boat

Photo courtesy Splash Dive Center

The best way to observe International Whale Shark Day is to learn more about this sea animal! If you’re feeling inspired to tick a whale shark encounter off your bucket list, consider Belize. Preferring warm waters, the movements of whale sharks are slow but powerful. And for this reason, visitors of Southern Belize can experience the awe of human’s humble size next to whale sharks by snorkel or scuba offshore Placencia. Grab your gear and book a tour during their seasonal appearance in Belize with a local tour operator, like Splash Dive Center, and jump in with the world’s largest fish. Besides, Splash Dive Center uses multiple monitoring systems, including direct collaboration with the marine park’s conservation rangers, to ensure the best possible whale shark experience in Belize.

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