Inside the Chaotic World of Whale Shark Tourism
In the Philippines, whale shark tourism is a booming business. But questions have arisen about how this activity could harm the animals.
Welcome to Oslob, home of the whale shark selfie.
In this town, near the southern tip of Cebu Island in the Philippines, whale sharks are a big draw. Tourism is booming for people who want to watch, swim with, and take photographs next to the world’s biggest fish.
Since it began in 2011, Oslob’s whale shark-watching operation has become the largest such venture in the world. But the operation is controversial, because whale sharks don’t naturally gather here, unlike other such sites in the country. The Oslob sharks are hand-fed, and this essentially guarantees they will show up to thrill guests, who can snap close-range photos.
The situation raises thorny questions, for example about the impact of feeding and human interaction