Shark Whale in Kenya

3 February 2014

The whale shark is the largest non-cetacean animal in the world, and is an attraction in Kenya.

The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 31.82 ft (9.7 mt) and 20,000 lb (9 tonnes).
The largest verified specimen was caught Pakistan. It was 41.50 ft (12.65 metres) long, weighed more than 47,000 lb (21.5 tonnes), and had a girth of 23.0 ft (7 metres).

Stories exist of vastly larger specimens – quoted lengths of 59 ft (18 metres) and 100,000 lb (45.5 tonnes) are not uncommon in the popular shark literature – but no scientific records support their existence.

The season, in which it is possible to see up close, whale sharks in Kenya, ranging from mid-February to late March. Recently, there has been a significant increase which is perhaps related to the post El Nino mantis shrimp invasion.

In Kiswahili the whale shark is called “papa shillingi”, which can be translated as “shark covered by Shellini.

The video linked from You Tube posted by Volker Bassen shows the wonderful Kenya seafloor and the work of the East African Whale Shark Trust, an organization very ative to the study and conservation of this important species. For more info see

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