Help us protect and study
the world's biggest fish!




Our work is possible with the generous support of:

How it works

The Wildbook for Whale Sharks photo-identification library is a visual database of whale shark (Rhincodon typus) encounters and of individually catalogued whale sharks. The library is maintained and used by marine biologists to collect and analyze whale shark sighting data to learn more about these amazing creatures.

The Wildbook uses photographs of the skin patterning behind the gills of each shark, and any scars, to distinguish between individual animals. Cutting-edge software supports rapid identification using pattern recognition and photo management tools. You too can assist with whale shark research, by submitting photos and sighting data. The information you submit will be used in mark-recapture studies to help with the global conservation of this threatened species.

7046 identified whale sharks

32118 reported sightings

104 researchers and volunteers


Encounters around the world

How can I help?

If you are not on site, there are still other ways to get engaged

Adopt a Whale Shark

  • Support individual research programs in different regions
  • Receive email updates when we resight your adopted animal
  • Display your photo and a quote on the animal's page in our database
Learn more about adopting an individual animal in our study

Meet an adopter:Melissa Spencer

As a participant in whale shark research through the Earthwatch conservation group, I learned first-hand the need for research about these gentle giants so others can be informed about the need for their conservation.

Development

Wildbook for Whale Sharks is maintained and developed by Jason Holmberg (Information Architect) with significant support and input from the research community. This site is a flagship project of Wild Me's Wildbook and IBEIS open source projects. Dr. Simon Pierce provides scientific oversight and guidance.