The giant basking shark, tracked by satellites and crowdsourced info, remains a mystery to man but by following it from space and reports from divers, fishermen and other spotters over the last two years, scientists are starting to learn more about this elusive creature.
The ocean giant, known as the Cetorhinus maximus, is the second largest fish in the world and can grow up to 10 meters in length, Marinebio.org reported.
They are known for their massive mouths which can span 1.2 meters in length when opened wide but, rather than use their huge jaws to prey on humans like in the block buster film “The Meg,” they instead prefer to feed off other marine sources.
Despite their non-threatening demeanor, these gentle giants’ populations are being threatened by commercial fisheries and hunters seeking their massive fins, meat and oily livers, Phys.org reported.
Basking shark populations have been dropping since the 1970s and are battling to recover.
They are now listed as “vulnerable” across the world and “endangered” in the North Pacific and Northeast Atlantic by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Fox News reported.
With dramatically declining numbers, scientists are scrambling to better understand these creatures but it does not help that they tend to be shy, preferring to remain out of sight.
“It's a shark that remains very mysterious,” Alexandra Rohr of the research group APECS, which is based in France, told Channel News Asia.
However, researchers from APECS are now using new tracking technology to monitor these sharks and learn more about them.
The organization tagged four sharks this year alone, Fox News reported, and with the help of divers, sailors and other members of the public who are additionally contributing crowd-sourced information, scientists could start to better understand these creatures.
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