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How does it work?


Each whale shark has its own spot pattern, like a unique fingerprint, allowing researchers to identify individuals just from a picture. The left-side spot pattern is the area that is needed for scientists to be able to use the picture (the area framed in the red rectangle on the photo). This specific area is then fed into an algorithm and analysed.

Why is it so important?

The Madagascar Whale Shark Project (MWSP) is the world’s first study of globally endangered whale sharks in Madagascar. As so little is known about this recently discovered population, in order to better understand the movements of whale sharks in the Indian Ocean, we are looking for pictures of the left-sides of whale sharks :

-That were taken in Nosy Be, Madagascar

-That were taken elsewhere in Madagascar (Sainte-Marie, Antongil etc.)

-That were either not taken in Malagasy waters but in the region (Mayotte, Réunion Island)

Have you seen a whale shark?

You can send your photos to, indicating the exact date of the encounter, and we will add them to our database.