Whale Sharks – level 3
Scientists are diving into the waters around the Galapagos Islands to gather more information about the whale shark.
Whale sharks are the largest found in the world's oceans, but they are also one of the least understood, with some scientists calling them a mystery species. The animal can weight up to 18 tonnes and its size ranges from 6 to 16 metres in length. Despite the size, these sharks are gentle giants and only eat tiny fish and plankton.
Scientist Alex Hearn explained that there is a whole proportion of the population that scientists do not have much access to and would like to find out more about the shark's sexual maturity, mating, pupping ground, mortality and early life stages.
It is also really important to understand the migratory patterns of the species if scientists wish to protect them in a meaningful way.
Difficult words: species (an animal kind), tiny (very small), plankton (very small organisms in the water), proportion (a part), pupping ground (the area where the sharks have their pups – baby sharks).
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