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September 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 28, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Where Do Whale Sharks Spend the Winter?

from the September, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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The whale sharks off the Yucatan Peninsula apparently travel up to 5,000 miles annually, according to a new study of their migration. Whale sharks are known to gather at a dozen major feeding locations around the world, from Western Australia and Indonesia to Belize. But between May and September, the waters of Mexico's Quintana Roo state, on the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, draw far more animals than other spots --an estimated 800 or more in a given season.

"From this one feeding area, these animals spread throughout the Gulf of Mexico, into the Caribbean, through the Straits of Florida up into the Atlantic Ocean," said study co-author Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory. "We found animals coming back for as many as six years at a time. Clearly they are returning to fuel up on the food that's there to carry them through much of the rest of the year."...


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