Although the Whale Shark is massive (it can grow to a length of more than 40 feet, about the size of a school bus) and intimidating (its open mouth can form a gaping hole 4 feet wide), this gentle giant is no Jaws. Far from being a man-eater, the whale shark is primarily a filter feeder. It dines on plankton, microscopic plants and animals that drift the ocean currents.
A solo swimmer that is sometimes spotted feeding in groups along coastlines, the whale shark lives in every tropical and warm temperate sea except the Mediterranean. In recent years, harvesting whale sharks to supply meat and fins to China, Taiwan, Singapore and other Asian markets has caused whale shark numbers to dwindle. Because the whale shark is slow to grow--males do not reach sexual maturity until almost 30 years of age--many whale sharks die before the are able to reproduce.
Sign this petition and urge your elected official to help save these remarkable creatures.