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.

7804 identified whale sharks

36019 reported sightings

113 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:Tony Dumbrill

After many years of observing our beautiful marine life around various locations, I have also seen the damage being caused to our oceans and the impact it is having on our underwater friends. It is now time that we take some serious action to reverse this. We too make up part of the ocean. It is our responsibility to protect those creatures that live in it, such as these beautiful sharks. In doing so we will continue to have the viewing pleasures, enjoyment and interaction for many years to come.


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.