Collect data

Help us with our research

How does it work?

Each whale shark has its own spot pattern, like a fingerprint, allowing researchers to identify individuals just from a picture. The left-side spot pattern is the most important, especially the area above the left pectoral fin (see area framed by the red rectangle on the photo).

Why is it so important?

The Madagascar Whale Shark Project (MWSP) is the world’s first study of globally endangered whale sharks in Madagascar. In collaboration with the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), the Florida International University (FIU) and the local NGO MADA Megafauna, we raise awareness among local communities about whale sharks and other marine megafauna species. We also designed and implemented the first Code of Conduct and best practice guidelines in Nosy Be to ensure sustainable and safe interactions for both whale sharks and humans.

In order to better understand the movements of whale sharks in the Indian Ocean, we are looking for pictures of whale sharks that were either not taken in Malagasy waters or the typical whale shark season (September to December). We are particulary interested in photo-IDs from Réunion Island and Mayotte.

Have you seen a whale shark?

Your photos and videos can help save this iconic animal from extinction.

You can send your photos to, indicating the exact date of the encounter and the GPS location. You can also upload your photos on the global database.