More whale sharks spotted in the UAE
Not one, but two whale shark sightings were reported in the UAE yesterday! One shark was spotted near Dubai’s Palm Jumeriah and the other in Ras Al Khaimah. And this isn’t the first time sightings have been reported in the UAE…
Whale sharks are found in the Arabian Gulf and sightings have become more frequent over the past year. That said, sightings at this time of year are rare. Whale sharks usually appear in the winter months for feeding. When Executive Director of the environmental authority, Saif Al Ghais, was questioned about yesterday’s sighting in Ras al Khaimah, he said: "The whale shark looks healthy, so it does not appear to have come towards the shore because it is ill or unable to swim."
Whale sharks can grow up to 12 metres long and weigh up to 20 tonnes. But despite the scary name, they are not a threat to humans and are not to fear! Last August, there were multiple sightings of a whale shark swimming around Dubai Marina. And in the past two months alone sightings have been reported in the Jumeirah Fishing Harbour and in Abu Dhabi.
So, why do they keep appearing in the UAE?
Whale sharks are known for swimming in packs of three to six. So the two whale shark sightings yesterday could be from the same pack, meaning they possibly got separated somewhere on their journey. Another reason behind the frequent sightings is that smaller whale sharks are known to be attracted to the bright lights of the city. Or they could simply just be in the shallow waters searching for food.
Either way, there is no reason to be scared. Just make sure you respect the gentle giants!