Skip Navigation Links
PUBLICATIONS
Gujarat's Gentle Giant- Conservation of whale shark (Rhincodon Typus) in Gujarat
Published by Manoj Matwal, Prem Jothi, Dhiresh Joshi, Praveenkumar, Farukhkha Bloch, Goutham Sambath, M.V.M Wafar, B. C Chaudhury, Rahul Kaul, 23 Sep 2014
The whale shark is indubitably the largest fish in the world. The conservation of the whale shark is debatably the most successful conservation project undertaken by WTI in its history. This project in collaboration with Tata Chemicals t and the Forest Department of Gujarat has won several conservation laurels.
Click here to view PDF

The whale shark is indubitably the largest fish in the world. The conservation of the whale shark is debatably the most successful conservation project undertaken by WTI in its history. This project in collaboration with Tata Chemicals Limited and the Forest Department of Gujarat has won several conservation laurels. These include the BNHS Green Governance Award in 2005, as well as the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC) Award for 18 environment friendly practices of Gujarat for whale shark rescues in 2012, both for Tata Chemicals Limited. The UNDP-MoEF Indian Biodiversity Award was also recently awarded to the Gujarat Forest Department for comanagement in the Whale Shark Conservation Project in 2014.

For us at WTI, these awards given to our partners are the culmination of eleven years of hard work, first in designing and implementing an on ground campaign, then in the policy work that followed at centre and state, then in the rescue of the sharks themselves and finally in entering the domain of science to know more about this wondrous creature.This report documents those eleven years and the many milestones that come with it. For me personally the memories of first distributing Mike Pandey’s film at the CITES conference in Santiago in 2002, my very first visit with my then Vice Chair Sujit Gupta to the coast of Gujarat to see the location of the whale shark Arribadas and attending the Whale Shark Day celebrations at Porbander with thousands of school children thronging the streets are all equally vivid.

That from those early days, using the charismatic appeal of the social activist and guru Morari Bapu, so much has been achieved is testimony to a well-planned and reographed campaign. Eight cities adopting the whale shark as a mascot, the Gujarat government announcing a relief scheme for fishermen who cut their nets and freed the shark, the popular movement that christened the hitherto un-named fish as Vhali or the loved one were all unprecedented. And what was even more interesting was that all this was being done, not for the tiger, not for the elephant, not even for Gujarat’s own symbol of wildlife the lion, but for a fish.

Within one year of launching the campaign in 2004, it was won. Nobody in Gujarat killed the whale shark anymore. Yes, we had to do much more to ensure that the policy was in line with the campaign findings. Most certainly much had to be learnt about the movements, behaviour and demography of whale sharks off our coasts. But the conservation imperative of stopping the killing of hundreds of sharks annually had come to a grinding halt. There could not have been a more spectacular and swift ending to a conservation campaign. And thus, with this report we document the planning, acknowledge the partners and popular support and celebrate a great conservation victory. May more happen in the whale sharks wake, especially in the marine realm where conservation success is a rare creature.

Vivek Menon
ED & CEO, Wildlife Trust of India


PUBLICATIONS
Copyrights Reserved © 2013, Wildlife Trust of India
Privacy Policy  |  Site By  :  Web Ink