“A small group of whale sharks in the Maldives is proving more popular than anyone could have imagined,” writes the Press Association.
“On their own, the majestic creatures living in a single Maldivian atoll – a ring-shaped chain of islands formed of coral – account for nearly 3% of global tourism devoted to sharks, a study shows.
The whale shark is the world’s biggest fish, reaching lengths of 40ft (12.2m) or more. Despite its appearance, it is a gentle giant that preys on nothing larger than shrimp-like plankton.
Last year the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area (Sampa) attracted between 77,000 and 78,000 tourists on whale shark excursions, bringing in a direct income of £5.6 million to operators.”