MANILA – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Wednesday expressed its disapproval over feeding and swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu.
WWF released the statement a day after the organizers of the upcoming Miss Universe pageant brought contestants to Oslob to swim with the whale sharks.
“Instead of swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, WWF asks sea lovers to swim with wild whale sharks in the town of Donsol in Sorsogon instead. By conserving whale sharks and promoting wild shark interactions, Donsol has risen from a fifth class municipality to first class in terms of the income of its local residents,” WWF said.
WWF noted that feeding the whale sharks in Oslob to lure them into a particular spot for tourists modifies their natural behavior as migratory animals.
“The act of feeding them daily has been shown to result in longer residency times at the site than are normally found for whale sharks in other parts of the world, and some individuals are found there almost every day now. This completely alters their natural behavior as they are highly migratory species. Having them stay put could have negative long-term effects on their life cycle, such as their ability to reproduce,” it said.
WWF added: “Whale shark tours that are not properly guided and do not observe what is best for the whale sharks endanger both tourists and animals. The guideline that tourists should not come within four meters of whale sharks is rarely followed, and inappropriate behavior by some tourists is sadly common.”