International Whale Shark Day

The whale shark is a slow-moving, gentle giant of the ocean. It is a filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known non-extinct fish in the world, having an average length of 18.8 meters. It is also the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. Why are we telling you all of this?

Only because we’re going to take a few moments of your time to talk about International Whale Shark Day. This holiday is observed annually on August 30th and celebrates these amazing creatures.

Unfortunately, these animals are on the IUCN Red List as being globally endangered due to their populations decreasing by over 50% in the last 75 years. And that’s reason enough for all of us to pay respects to these animals on this day and to help work on a solution to save them.

The History of International Whale Shark Day

This holiday was created in 2007 and first observed on August 30th, 2008. Its purpose was to raise awareness about the need for conservation efforts to protect whale sharks. Although the exact origin of this holiday is unclear, it has been celebrated every year by everyone who wants to protect this shark species and see its continued existence well into the future.

What we do know is that the date of this holiday was chosen because it marks the anniversary of when the whale shark was first discovered by Sir Andrew Smith in 1828. Smith was a Scottish naturalist who discovered this shark off the coast of South Africa on that date and ended up finding a dead whale shark on the beach that he was able to study.

Some Quick Facts About Whale Sharks

Below are some quick facts about whale sharks that we feel everyone will be able to appreciate. We hope the following facts will encourage people to learn more about whale sharks on their own. Maybe these facts will even inspire you and everyone reading today to take action to save these sharks.

  • Whale sharks aren’t actually sharks; they are large fish.
  • They can’t bite or chew. Instead, they filter their food through their gills.
  • They can process over 6,000 gallons of water per hour!

Observing International Whale Shark Day

In our worldview, this holiday is an important one for people to observe. It’s a day that raises awareness about the world’s largest fish species and highlights their vulnerability to human activities.

After all, human activities are the main reason why the whale shark is on the endangered list. That’s why it’s important for all of us to take action to protect these animals. With that said, even the smallest act can help the cause. This includes spreading the word about International Whale Shark Day on social media using the hashtag #WhaleSharkDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 30 Friday
Next year (2025)
August 30 Saturday
Last year (2023)
August 30 Wednesday