UAE – The United Arab Emirates warned residents to steer clear of two whale sharks spotted in Al Raha and Al Bahia beaches in recent weeks, according to sources, which pose no threat to humans but are listed as vulnerable species.
Whale sharks can grow to the size of a bus and are believed to live as long as 130 years.
Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) said a juvenile whale shark returned to Al Raha after last being seen in the area, near Aldar headquarters, a week ago, according to reports.
The agency had been monitoring it for six weeks, wrote The National. After noticing it lost weight, the National Aquarium began supplementing its diet with krill. Their plan is to continue feeding and monitoring the whale shark until it returns to the open waters.
The agency is also monitoring a second whale shark nearby in Al Bahia. It warned people not to swim or dive with the seven-metre male to protect the whale shark. Fishing is also banned in the area, The National reported.
“Considered endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species, whale sharks appear occasionally in the marinas and waterways of Abu Dhabi during this time of year and are not harmful,” it said in September, when another whale shark was spotted in the same area.
“If you come across a whale shark, we urge you to not approach it and for boat drivers to keep a safe distance.”
Whale sharks are believed to live as long as 130 years and are found in all warm waters of the world.