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GL BAL TREASURE

INDONESIA’S

70

t one point, I was shooting three sharks begging fishermen on top of the bagan for more food ; unknowingly, two bigger sharks approached the bagan from behind me. I felt a shove, and the next moment, I was sandwiched between fve animals, each weighing about 15,000 kilograms! Albeit a somewhat sloppy moment with large feshy colossal mouths all around me, the sharks were gentle. I managed to escape from beneath them, fabbergasted but grinning. It was a moment to die for, a ‘whale’ of a tale that I shall talk about for the rest of my life.

Other than the fact that whale sharks rise to surface to feed on plankton and small fshes, little else is known about the Rhincodon typus. We do know that they breathe through gills like fsh, are cold-blooded and are the biggest fsh in the ocean. This year-round congregation and feeding off the fshing bagans are the frst of its kind at Cenderawasih Bay. We are unsure if the population is local, but we do know if the shark fn merchants move in, all animals in the bay can be harvested in just a couple of weeks! Our primary concern now is to protect their well-being and habitat for future generations. We termed Cenderawasih Bay a global treasure. Ocean celebrity, Valerie Taylor, has an even better description – the 8th natural wonder of our world. Cenderawasih, the beauty of nature’s creation personifed, fanning our fervour to protect and preserve it.

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Page 16 - Global Treasures E

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