3m endangered juvenile whale shark spotted in S'pore waters, second sighting since 1964


Sumita Thiagarajan | August 13, 2020, 04:21 PM

A wild three-metre juvenile whale shark was recently spotted in Singapore waters.

According to Reddit user, Freakzone2212, their father reported seeing a juvenile whale shark in local waters while on a fishing trip.

However, the post on Reddit did not reveal the location of the whale shark sighting.

Second sighting in Singapore since 1964

This sighting was confirmed by Zeehan Jaafar, a researcher in Singapore who studies aquatic vertebrates, including fish, in the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore.

Speaking to Mothership, Zeehan mentioned that whale sharks are the only living species in the Rhincodontidae family.

Zeehan also highlighted that one can tell that its a whale shark from the photo due to the characteristic colour, markings and shape of this species.

A record of the sighting will be submitted to the Singapore Biodiversity Records under the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum to formalise the sighting, said Zeehan.

The largest fish in the world, the whale shark has not been reported in Singapore waters since 1964.

When a 8.8 metre-long whale shark was last sighted in 1964 near Pulau Sebarok, a southern island in Singapore, it was shot by marine police 13 times, according to an archived copy of the Straits Times.

Gentle giants

Known to be docile, these giant tropical fish can grow up to 12 metres or more, according to National Geographic.

Although they are carnivores, these creatures filter feed, which means they just swim with their mouths wide open and take in any plankton, or other tiny plants and animals.

The backs of their body often have prominent white spots.

They are currently listed as "endangered" on the IUCN Red List.

Top photos via Matthew T Rader/Unsplash and Freakzone2212/Reddit