A whale shark was found washed ashore on a local beach in the Kommetjie area this morning.

Cape Research and Diver Development (RADD), a marine field station that serves as platform for research in the Cape Town and False Bay Area confirmed the incident on social media.

“This morning we were alerted to a washed up whale shark on a local beach along the peninsula (Kommetjie).”

The whale shark found on the beach this morning.

As the organisation aims to conserve the underwater environment, they expressed that they were “very sad” to hear the news of the washed up whale shark.

Passers by looking at the dead whale shark.

There is speculation as to why it washed ashore, but Cape RADD contributes this to the cold currents of the West Coast.

“This is a sad occurrence which is probably due to the young shark getting caught up in the cold currents of the West Coast and unable to manage its body heat died.”

Adding that Whale sharks are not found in colder waters.

“Whale sharks are usually restricted to the warmer waters of the East Coast of Southern Africa (18+ degrees).”

An image of the whale shark’s gills.

What is a Whale shark? 

Here are a few facts about the whale shark:

– Currently, the species is considered as endangered on the ICUN Red List of Endangered species, with species numbers decreasing

– It is a “filter feeder” as it filters everything that passes through its mouth and it prefers to eat plankton

– Whale sharks populate tropical waters as they prefer warmer temperatures

– They are considered ‘docile fish’

– They can grow to weigh over 20 tons.

 

Picture:Cape RADD, Facebook

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about animals, social issues, the environment and current affairs.