A whale shark terrorised a seaside town in southern Israel. It caused more fear than harm, however, since the animal does not pose a threat to humans.
Visitors to a beach in Eilat, Israel were lucky enough to see the world’s largest shark off-shore. They found themselves face to face with this unexpected visitor, as can be seen by the footage published by Kann News on Twitter on July 4, 2020.
Impressive but docile
Holidaymakers were overcome with panic when they saw a fin so close to swimmers and to the shore. There was little danger, however, since whale sharks are harmless to humans. Their size is nonetheless impressive: they can reach 65 feet long and weigh 34 tonnes, making it the largest fish in the world.
These docile creatures feed mainly on plankton in warm tropical seas, such as the Red Sea, where the specimen had been sighted. Rarely do they come so close to shore, and yet a whale shark had already been spotted off the coast of Eilat in May, in the middle of coral reefs.
Although they do not pose a threat, the head of the Sharks in Israel conservation organisation Adi Barash, interviewed by Ynet, advised observers not to get too close to these sharks:
The [feeding] season is at its peak and they approach concentrations of plankton. It is very important not to get in their way, not to touch them and not to chase them away. It's better to photograph them and observe from afar.