By PR | 07:52 PM September 12, 2019
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-Region 7) advises the residents from Alegria town in southern Cebu to refrain from feeding the whale sharks earlier sighted in the waters off the coasts.
BFAR-7 veterinarian Dr. Jennefe Cabarubias said if locals continue to feed or pet these whale sharks, these will encourage these wild species to stay at the municipal waters, which is not their normal environment.
“There should be no feeding introduction and no close interaction to humans. As much as possible, wild species should remain in the wild. There might be possible consequences because there will be changes in the normal cycle of their system,” she said.
Reports have reached BFAR-7 that whale sharks have been seen swimming in the municipal waters of Alegria for days now. More whale sharks appeared after residents reportedly fed these species.
Netizens are also alarmed by the videos posted online showing some residents riding over the whale sharks.
Cabarubias said that for her part, whale shark species should not be domesticated even if this might be a potential income-generating tourism activity in the community.
She said even if locals will provide precautionary measures to make it work, there is no full assurance that these species will be protected and will be safe from any harm or threat.
Cabarubias also called on the attention of the local government unit to take action on the matter and provide with the needed intervention so as to ensure the protection of the whale sharks.
Cebu Provincial Fishery Officer (PFO) Edgardo Delfin shared the same sentiments. He highly recommended for the local officials to prevent any feeding activity there.
He also discouraged the residents from doing so because it might change the natural feeding behavior of the whale sharks making them dependent to humans.
He said PFO-Cebu already relayed to the local government units the advisory that people should be five to six meters away from the whale sharks because it might stress out these gentle giants.