The rare rescue mission led by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department is an exemplary story of marine conservation like whale shark with the active involvement of the local community.
- In the Andhra Pradesh coast, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam are major shark landing areas.
- Blacktip sharks, bull sharks, pelagic and big-eye thresher shark, smooth and scalloped hammerhead, and tiger sharks are the species that are hunted frequently on these coasts.
- Of these, the smooth and scalloped hammerhead are classified as threatened species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- Scalloped hammerheads are categorised on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered.
About Whale Shark
- The world’s largest fish species.
- This shark is listed as endangered in the IUCN list and protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act.
- Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the world’s largest fish. They feed on plankton and travel massive distances to find food to sustain their huge size, and for reproduction.
- Found in all the tropical oceans of the world, whale sharks have white spotted colouration which make these gentle giants easy to distinguish.
- They are popular with snorkellers and divers at sites where they aggregate off the coast.
- The presence of whale sharks indicates the availability of plankton and the overall health of the oceans.
- While not exactly known, the maximum size of a whale shark could be as large as 20 metres.
- Gujarat has the maximum density of whale shark population in the Indo-pacific region.
- It was in 2001 that, in a conservation attempt, whale sharks were included in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972, rendering the capture and killing of the fish a cognisable offence.
- It was the first-ever species to be protected under this Act, after which the Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) and speartooth shark (Glyphis glyphis) were added to it.
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