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EditPhoto Title:Track Whale Sharks
EditPhoto Description:Watch in real-time the world’s largest fish, satellite-tagged in eastern Indonesia
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_24400754.jpg
EditImage Description:Mark Erdmann swims with a tagged whale shark.
EditPhoto Credit:© Shawn Heinrichs
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EditText:You need nature. We protect it. Find out how.
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WE’VE LEAR​NED A LOT

In 2015, Conservation International scientists in Indonesia performed a first: We attached satellite transmitters to the dorsal fins of whale sharks. These transmitters had never been mounted on whale sharks because the species was simply too big to catch — so our scientists partnered with local fishermen​ who inadvertently captured whale sharks in their nets, then dived in to attach the transmitters before releasing the sharks. Thanks to these efforts, in addition to our new partnership with the Georgia Aquarium, we’ve learned a lot about the charismatic species, including their migratory movements and diving behavior — much of it new to science.​

FOLLOW THE SHARKS IN REAL-TIME

CI Sharks Map & Slider

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EditImage Position:leftLeft
    EditSection Title:Two whale sharks named by social media!
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    EditImage URL:/sitecollectionimages/sharks/144884.jpg
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    In the spirit of Shark Week 2016, we asked our online community to name whale sharks #144883 and #144884. After receiving nearly 800 submissions, we tallied the votes and found two clear winners that will now be used by the CI scientists studying these majestic creatures.

    See the winners
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    EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/Photo by Mark Erdmann
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    Title

    EditHeader:THE RESEARCH
    How are sharks tagged, and what have we learned?
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      EditSection Title:How are sharks tagged?
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      EditText:Local fisherman call CI scientists when whale sharks are inadvertently caught in their nets. Before the sharks are freed, scientists attach a satellite transmitter to their dorsal fin, with minimal disturbance to the animals. The transmitters’ batteries last about two years, and data is sent every time the shark’s fin breaks the water’s surface for long enough.
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        EditSection Title:What have we learned?
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          EditImage URL:/sitecollectionimages/ci_26445564.jpg
          EditImage Description:Three young whale sharks looking for a meal.
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          A satellite tag has shown that “Moby,” a 15-foot male, has one of the deepest recorded dives of any whale shark at nearly 6,000 feet — more than a mile beneath the water’s surface! Other notable findings include:

          • These whale sharks (tagged in West Papua, Indonesia) are not as migratory as many believed.
          • They disperse periodically in different directions, covering distances up to 1,000 miles, often to return to Cendrawasih Bay in a matter of weeks.
          • They are very individualistic, going their own way for reasons unknown. We’ve tracked two males, of similar ages and lengths, with utterly different migration habits, one largely staying put since we mounted his tag, while the other has ventured into the western Pacific Ocean.
          • The tagging site where whale sharks feed is only a few hundred feet deep, but when they travel farther afield, they dive remarkably deep.

            Read more on CI’s blog, Human Nature.
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          EditPhoto Credit:© Shawn Heinrichs
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            EditSection Title:CI’s partnership with the Georgia Aquarium
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              EditImage URL:/sitecollectionimages/ci_41199766.jpg
              EditImage Description:Sometimes the overly-enthusiastic whale sharks are inadvertently captured in the bagan’s baitfish nets, allowing us a unique opportunity to then operate upon them and deploy a fin-mounted satellite tag before releasing them.
              EditText:CI is now collaborating with the Georgia Aquarium to carry out health exams and blood draws on wild animals to provide baseline health and ensure animal welfare during our tagging research. Combining the aquarium’s expertise as a leading authority on whale shark care and veterinary techniques with our ongoing community engagement and field work in West Papua, we hope to ensure that whale shark tourism is managed sustainably and doesn’t adversely impact their health.
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              EditPhoto Credit:© Shawn Heinrichs
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                EditSection Title:Kids adopting whale sharks
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                  EditImage URL:/sitecollectionimages/ci_84847481.jpg
                  EditImage Description:Whale sharks in Cendrawasih Bay feeding on baitfish beneath a bagan lift net vessel.
                  EditText:Conservation International will launch a school program in Singapore through which students can adopt individual whale sharks and use this tool to track their progress daily, enabling them to learn about whale shark behavior and the ecosystem on which this species relies. The program aims to encourage greater awareness of the importance of healthy marine ecosystems and humans’ effect on them.
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                    EditSection Title:What is the Bird’s Head Seascape
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                      These sharks are tagged in Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape, West Papua, an area that is home to a wider array of marine creatures than any other place in the world. This area, about the size of Great Britain, boasts 75% of all the world’s coral species and more than 1,700 species of fish. This rich biodiversity increases the area’s resilience to stressors like climate change, potentially offering answers to how coral reefs can adapt to global warming.

                      Learn more about the Bird’s Head Seascape

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                      EditPhoto Credit:© Keith A. Ellenbogen
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                      CI Sharks CTA

                      FROM THE BLOG

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                      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_60482993.jpg
                      EditImage Alt Text:Whale shark in Cendrawasih Bay, part of the Bird's Head Seascape.
                      EditCaption Title:Whale shark watch: 4 things we've learned from tracking the world's largest fish
                      EditCaption Description:As Shark Week kicks off, check out the latest science on these ocean giants.
                      EditRead More Text:Read More
                      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2016/06/whale-shark-watch-4-things-weve-learned-from-tracking-the-worlds-largest-fish/[Optional]
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                      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_39187252.jpg
                      EditImage Alt Text:A diver swims with a whale shark in Indonesia’s Cendrawasih Bay
                      EditCaption Title:Whale shark ‘bling’ could unlock mysteries of giants of the deep
                      EditCaption Description:Technological advances are bringing us closer to understanding the world’s largest fish.
                      EditRead More Text:Read More
                      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2015/07/whale-shark-bling-could-unlock-mysteries-of-giants-of-the-deep/[Optional]
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                      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_76091510.jpg
                      EditImage Alt Text:A diver swims with a whale shark in Indonesia’s Cendrawasih Bay
                      EditCaption Title:Newly discovered whale shark population brings tourism potential to Indonesian communities
                      EditCaption Description:The more we know about the animals’ behavior, the better we can help communities value and protect them.
                      EditRead More Text:Read More
                      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2014/08/newly-discovered-whale-shark-population-brings-tourism-potential-to-indonesian-communities/[Optional]
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                      EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_18232569.jpg
                      EditImage Alt Text:Whale shark in Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park, Indonesia.
                      EditCaption Title:Field notes: what it’s like to tag whale sharks
                      EditCaption Description:An expedition ventures into Indonesia’s Cendrawasih Bay to expand scientific knowledge about the world’s largest fish.
                      EditRead More Text:Read More
                      EditRead More Link:http://blog.conservation.org/2011/11/tagging-whale-sharks-in-indonesia-part-1/[Optional]
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                      EditPage Link:http://ci-intl.org/294OCNk
                      EditTweet Text:Find out where eastern Indonesia's whale sharks are hanging out today via @ConservationOrg #SharkWeek
                      EditTwitter Page Link:http://www.conservation.org/projects/Pages/Track-Whale-Sharks.aspx
                      EditLinkedin Title:Track Whale Sharks in Real-Time
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                        More of Our Work Links

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                        Images Rows

                        First Image

                        EditTitle:Shark Week 2016
                        EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_89117880.jpg
                        EditLink:/sharks
                        EditImage Alt Text:© Barry Peter/Flickr Creative Commons
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                        Second Image

                        EditTitle:Dive in to “Valen’s Reef”
                        EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_73119273.png
                        EditLink:/reef
                        EditImage Alt Text: Manta Ray, from Conservation International's VR debut, “Valen’s Reef.” © Conservation International/John Martin
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                        EditTitle:Bird’s Head Seascape
                        EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_65657554.jpg
                        EditLink:/birds-head
                        EditImage Alt Text:Wayag Lagoon, Bird's Head Seascape, Indonesia. © Will Turner
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