2019-04-09 13:36:39

Walking Sharks in Indonesia





Indonesia is not only well-known as the paradise of coral reefs but also the rare sharks' paradise. The waters that become a favourite place for the sharks to live and to breed is the water on East Indonesia, especially in Maluku and West Papua.

Based on the information released by the Conservation International (CI), there are at least five rare endemic species of sharks have been discovered in Indonesian waters.

These five species of sharks are classified as a family of walking sharks that is very limited in the world. CI Indonesia stated that there are only nine species walking sharks in the world and five of them are discovered in Indonesian waters.

The Marine Program Director of CI Indonesia, Victor Nikijuluw stated, the existence of these five of nine species walking sharks in Indonesia has to be something we need to pay attention especially for those who call themselves a marine ecosystem lover. Therefore, the existence of these sharks has to be protected seriously.

Walking sharks are considered as a very special species. They are called “walking sharks” because their movement on the sea floor is distinct. They use their fins to literally walking.

The first walking shark in Indonesia was discovered in Raja Ampat, called Hemiscyllium freycineti in 1824. H. freycineti is also called as the Indonesian speckled carpetshark. It is a species of bamboo shark in the family Hemiscylliidae. It is a little-known bottom shark, occurs on coral reefs, on the sand, and in seagrass in shallow water.

The next walking shark we may want to say hello to is Hemiscyllium galei that were discovered in Cendrawasih Bay, West Papua. This species of bamboo shark is distinguished by its unique combination of white lines/spots along the margin of the large, dark saddles on the back, scattered white spots particularly on the upper side, and a row of dark spots on the lower side between the abdomen and caudal-fin base. H. galei occurs on shoreline fringing reefs or shallow patch reefs; observed at night at depths between 2-4 m, usually seen resting on the bottom, occasionally observed while slowly swimming or 'walking' over the bottom with the pectoral and pelvic fins.

Then we need to know about the third species of walking shark called Hemiscyllium halmahera. H. halmahera were just discovered in 2013 in the remote eastern island of Halmahera, one of the Maluku islands. This species is distinguished by its colour pattern, generally brown with numerous clusters of mainly 2-3 dark polygonal spots.

Finally, we may want to know about Hemiscyllium henryi that were discovered in Kaimana waters, West Papua in 2008 right after the H. galei were founded in Cendrawasih Bay. H. henryi is distinguished by its unique colour pattern, distinctive is the combination of small scattered spots on the head, body, and fins. It is often seen resting on the bottom, occasionally observed slowly swimming or 'walking' over the bottom with the pectoral and pelvic fins. Generally sedentary during the day, sheltering under rocky outcrops or tabular corals.

In order to meet these walking sharks, everyone can do snorkelling or taking a boat in shallow water. It is super fun know that we can meet them without having to dive deep. But, it is also can be a threat to its preservation. Therefore, this species should not be disturbed when we are spending time on the coast and we should not damage the coral reefs and seagrass beds which are the habitat and place where they spawn. The damage of the habitat can endanger its preservation. On the other hand, if it can be conserved properly their presence could be the unique charm of tourism and increasing the value of Indonesian tourism.

TAGS :  sharks walking sharks raja ampat halmahera ternate diving indonesia trip dodivenow

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