Thu, 23 May 2024


Whale sharks up close awe tourists off Pulau Gaya 
Published on: Saturday, April 06, 2024
By: Jessie Lee
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Whale sharks up close awe tourists off Pulau Gaya 
A whale shark approaching tourists off Gaya Island.
Kota Kinabalu: A whale shark was caught on video awing tourists boating off Gaya Island, at 10.40am, Friday.

Borneo Exotika Adventure Sdn Bhd Manager Sebastian K, who saw the scene while escorting a group of tourists from China, said the shark slowly circled their boat.

He said the tourists expressed excitement upon seeing a pair of whale sharks approach their boat.

Throughout his 18-year career in Sabah tourism, Sebastian said this was his first time seeing a whale shark up close. 

“The islands off Kota Kinabalu are well protected. We believe this could be why whale sharks and beautiful sea creatures come close to greet our tourists,” he said.

He said there were times such scene was spotted near the Manukan Island and Mengalum Island but quite far from the boat.

“Just one note, please do not feed whale sharks upon sighting as this will negatively impact their natural ecosystem,” he added. 

This was echoed by Programme Manager for Reef Check Malaysia (Sabah), Adzmin Fatta, who identified the remora fish on top of the whale shark.

“We see people in the video feeding the whale shark with bread. This is not a good practice,” said Adzmin who is also an assistant to marine biologists.

Meanwhile, he said remora is a common fish that sticks on whale sharks or large marine animals.

Commenting on the scene, he said this is not rare, but much more a lucky encounter in Sabah.


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