Shark Researchers Track World’s Biggest Fish With Pet Tags
Posted: July 19, 2012 | By: Juliet Eilperin [Washington Post]Scientists working in Indonesia are inching closer to understanding whale sharks — using the same kind of radio-frequency identification tags that many Americans put on their pets.
Late last month, researchers from Conservation International, WWF-Indonesia, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and the State University of Papua inserted RFID tags on 30 whale sharks in Indonesia’s Cendrawasih Bay National Park, where the hulking giants have been gathering in recent years to feed on silverside baitfish.
Mark Erdmann, senior adviser to CI-Indonesia’s marine program, said in an interview that the tiny tags have “never been used on big free-roaming animals in the ocean” because they can only be read by a receiver wand waved near a tagged animal. But Brent Stewart, senior research scientist at Hubbs, suggested doing it because the sharks routinely return to the same place so they can consume the creatures that local fishing operators are also targeting.
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