New Delhi: In a move to boost whale shark
conservation, the environment ministry has given its nod to
satellite tag individuals of the species and collect tissue
samples for genetic analysis.
The move comes a few days after an Indian delegation
journeyed to Australia to observe whale shark satellite
tagging as well as tourism concerning the mammal to help
kick-start a similar process at home.
"We are in the process of procuring satellite tags and
will soon be initiating genetic analysis of individual whale
sharks as well, said Dhiresh Joshi, Coordinator, Wildlife
Trust of India, in a statement.
"This is a completely new exercise for the species in
India. Hopefully, in a few years, through extensive studies,
we will be able to shed more light on this gentle giant of the
deep seas," said Joshi.
The satellite tagging procedure is expected to help
ascertain the species` migratory routes through the vast
A three-member team comprising of Pradeep Khanna,
Gujarat`s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, R D Khamboj,
Director, Marine National Park, Gujarat and Rahul Kaul, Senior
Director, WTI had reviewed various aspects of professionally
run-whale shark tours in Australia, the statement added.
"In addition to carrying out scientific studies on the
whale shark, we have been exploring possibilities of whale
shark tourism in Gujarat as the state has a relatively high
frequency of sightings of the species as compared to other
states in India.
"We will have to work out a lot of details to ensure that
tourism doesn`t impact the habitat of the whale shark. Whale
shark tourism practices in Australia is considered among the
best, so this visit and assurances of help from the DEC
and CSIRO have made us more optimistic. It (whale shark
tourism) can be conducted in Gujarat," said Khanna.
The whale shark, roughly 500 of them in Indian waters, is
listed under Schedule I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act,