Whale shark behaviourNovember 10 2017
To add to our general monitoring of the whale shark populations in the Gulf of California AKA Sea of Cortez in Mexico, we are now recording observations of whale shark behaviour in relation to boats and swimmers, particularly concerning when individual sharks make an obvious avoidance response to the presence of the like.
To make greatly improved observations, we require an observational platform other than an observer in the water or on a boat. Having looked at the limitations of aerial drones, we have decided that the most effective platform of choice would be a suitable underwater drone that can help us to record interactions between whale sharks and humans. We can also use the platform to monitor the behaviour of whale sharks in the absence of human-caused disturbance to try to determine if our presence has a significant impact on the behaviour of whale sharks.
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Whale Shark Diaries was started in 2015 with the intention of helping to conserve whale sharks, an endangered species, through collaborative reseach, awareness and education facilitated by responsible tourism around the species.
Through running excursions to swim with these gentle giants, we are presented with the opportunity to gather information to help us identify individuals which can aid in tracking their movements and general condition. As well as this we have the opportunity to observe the behaviour of whale sharks both engaged in interactions with humans and in undisturbed situations to try to better understand our impact on their behaviour. This type of information can be used to help develop the management plan of the species here in La Paz, Mexico and elsewhere, to make tourism around whale sharks more sustainable.