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Dubai - Why are whale sharks making their way to Dubai’s shore?

Two separate reports of whale shark sightings were made yesterday, one in Dubai and another in Ras Al Khaimah.

Gulf News reader, Von Zalsos Haro, sent this video of a whale shark sighting in Palm Jumeirah.

When asked about the video, Saif Al Ghais, Executive Director of the environmental authority in Ras Al Khaimah and a marine biologist, said that another whale shark had been sighted in Ras Al Khaimah yesterday, calling the sightings ‘strange’.


“In the video [from the Gulf News reader], the whale shark looks healthy, so it does not appear to have come towards the shore because it is ill or unable to swim. There is no clear reason why they would be here.”


However, he stressed on the importance of not hurting or abusing animals.

“There is nothing to worry about as it is a peaceful animal. It is very rare to see them at this time of the year. They usually come in in the winter month for feeding. But you should not harm the animal because some people might ride on their backs,” he added


Since both the sightings were from yesterday, Al Ghais said that this might be a group that had been separated, as whale sharks swim in groups of three to six.

He found the sightings curious as there had been no catches reported of whale sharks. If a whale shark leading the group had been caught, it might explain the presence of juvenile whale sharks in other areas of the shore.

“They would definitely be searching for food. It is really difficult to say for sure what really brought it to shallow water. At this time of the year, they would be at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf where the water is deeper and the mix of the water [cold and warm currents] is higher.”

Have you come across whale sharks in the UAE waters recently? Message us on Facebook or write to us at readers@gulfnews.com