July 18, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – The discovery of a whale shark measuring about 3m by a group of divers off Pulau Bidong, Terengganu, has provided new data to the country’s marine life conservation efforts. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s (UMT) Faculty of Marine Science and Environment senior lecturer Dr Maizah Mohd Abdullah (pic) said the finding confirmed that the area was a migration route for the species.
“The whale shark is a migratory animal, so its presence can provide information that Pulau Bidong is a migration route. This data is important because (at present) we do not have enough information on its actual route.
“This discovery last Friday is exciting because these marine animals are often found in Pulau Redang, but have never been recorded around the waters off Pulau Bidong,” she said.
Asked whether the presence of the whale shark was an indication of the improving conditions of the country’s waters, she said that the matter could only be confirmed if two or more of them were found in the same area in search of food.
She added that the whale shark was categorised as the largest endangered fish under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and urged the public to report any sightings of the species to the media or UMT.
Local diver Mohamad Hafiz Hamzah, 34, who recorded the whale shark’s appearance at a depth of about 12m, shared his excitement with Bernama over the discovery.
“I was underwater when suddenly, three fellow divers were chasing after something behind me. When I turned around, (I saw the) whale shark. It feels unreal, like did that really happen?” he said.