Last Sunday, two whale sharks and a manta ray were spotted offshore near Destin, FL. when Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager for Okaloosa County, was diving.
Fogg told Get The Coast that “whale sharks have spots on them which is basically like a thumbprint.”
“There is a database that helps track these whale sharks using photographs to identify their unique pattern,” he said. “I plan to submit some of the photos that we took today to the database to see if they have been seen somewhere else.”
Fogg submitted the photos and it was revealed that one of the whale sharks has been seen before.
On Tuesday, Fogg received a confirmation email with the results. The email read:
“Just a quick email to let you know that the whale shark encounter that you submitted has been matched to a shark in the Wildbook for Whale Sharks photo-identification library.”
According to the Wildbook for Whale Sharks’ database, the first encounter of GC-109 (the ID of the whale shark) was in September 2017 offshore Cabo Catoche, Mexico.
So which whale shark was it?
According to Fogg, this was large female that was estimated to be between 25-30ft in length.